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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

TII launches region’s first hardware security research lab


The Technology Innovation Institute (TII), the applied research pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), has announced that its new cutting-edge hardware security research lab has gone live. These labs are dedicated to testing hardware encryption implementations and are able to analyze the security of embedded systems (hardware and software).

The first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, the lab is fully equipped to provide cutting edge capabilities related to side channel analysis, fault injection based attacks, hardware pen (penetration) testing and fuzzing, among other advanced techniques.

The lab’s reverse engineering capabilities also allow them to leverage machine learning algorithms to detect sophisticated malware and ransomware. Its interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary team includes theoretical and applied cryptographers, security experts, reverse engineering specialists, electronics engineers, and researchers with skills in side-channel analysis and fault-based injection attacks.

One stop solution

The Hardware Lab, a division of TII’s Cryptography Research Center (CRC), aspires to be a one-stop solution for design security verification and evaluation, from national security and automotive to IoT-based lightweight applications (smart home, smart meters). Additionally, the labs will test and harden industrial (smart grid), healthcare (medical device security) applications, and post-quantum cryptography-resistant devices and implementations. Key items that can benefit from this type of verification include application-specific embedded systems, smart cards, PCBs, ASIC chips, FPGA boards, COTS microcontrollers, and other devices.

Unique laboratories are equipped with advanced equipment such as high-end measurement instruments, oscilloscopes, signal generators and logic analyzers, lasers, dedicated side-channel and fault injection test benches, current and EM probes, as well as cables, amplifiers, climate chambers and the latest Advanced test bench. In addition, the lab hosts dedicated storage servers in a tightly air-gapped environment, ensuring the reliability of assessments and protecting the confidentiality and integrity of all data within. One of the lab’s main objectives is to enhance the UAE’s technological sovereignty in the field of embedded cryptography by supporting the complete end-to-end lifecycle from design, implementation, verification and security assessment. These labs also provide documentation and training support.

safe element

Dr Ray O Johnson, CEO of TII and ASPIRE, said: “Security is one of the key enabling technologies of our time and we are delighted to be able to contribute to their progress in the region through TII’s high-tech hardware security lab. Cybersecurity is a particularly challenging field in the digital-first world we live in, where quantum computing is rapidly becoming a reality, and where malicious actors are always trying to break into complex security protocols.As technology enablers, TII Working to accelerate breakthroughs, keep us two steps ahead and help keep us safe.”

CRC Principal Investigator Dr Najwa Aaraj said: “Our Hardware Security Lab brings together a team of talented and highly skilled experts and innovative approaches to enhance the design and implementation of our customers’ products, including hardware encryption implementations and embedded systems, while ensuring Confidentiality and underlying data integrity. With this new facility, we will continue to build on emerging academic and industry research and apply these technologies to improve our services and products.” — trade arab news agency


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