Visible to the public Biblio

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Bu, L., Nguyen, H. D., Kinsy, M. A..  2017.  RASSS: A perfidy-aware protocol for designing trustworthy distributed systems. 2017 IEEE International Symposium on Defect and Fault Tolerance in VLSI and Nanotechnology Systems (DFT). :1–6.

Robust Adaptive Secure Secret Sharing (RASSS) is a protocol for reconstructing secrets and information in distributed computing systems even in the presence of a large number of untrusted participants. Since the original Shamir's Secret Sharing scheme, there have been efforts to secure the technique against dishonest shareholders. Early on, researchers determined that the Reed-Solomon encoding property of the Shamir's share distribution equation and its decoding algorithm could tolerate cheaters up to one third of the total shareholders. However, if the number of cheaters grows beyond the error correcting capability (distance) of the Reed-Solomon codes, the reconstruction of the secret is hindered. Untrusted participants or cheaters could hide in the decoding procedure, or even frame up the honest parties. In this paper, we solve this challenge and propose a secure protocol that is no longer constrained by the limitations of the Reed-Solomon codes. As long as there are a minimum number of honest shareholders, the RASSS protocol is able to identify the cheaters and retrieve the correct secret or information in a distributed system with a probability close to 1 with less than 60% of hardware overhead. Furthermore, the adaptive nature of the protocol enables considerable hardware and timing resource savings and makes RASSS highly practical.

Isakov, M., Bu, L., Cheng, H., Kinsy, M. A..  2018.  Preventing Neural Network Model Exfiltration in Machine Learning Hardware Accelerators. 2018 Asian Hardware Oriented Security and Trust Symposium (AsianHOST). :62–67.

Machine learning (ML) models are often trained using private datasets that are very expensive to collect, or highly sensitive, using large amounts of computing power. The models are commonly exposed either through online APIs, or used in hardware devices deployed in the field or given to the end users. This provides an incentive for adversaries to steal these ML models as a proxy for gathering datasets. While API-based model exfiltration has been studied before, the theft and protection of machine learning models on hardware devices have not been explored as of now. In this work, we examine this important aspect of the design and deployment of ML models. We illustrate how an attacker may acquire either the model or the model architecture through memory probing, side-channels, or crafted input attacks, and propose (1) power-efficient obfuscation as an alternative to encryption, and (2) timing side-channel countermeasures.

Patooghy, A., Aerabi, E., Rezaei, H., Mark, M., Fazeli, M., Kinsy, M. A..  2018.  Mystic: Mystifying IP Cores Using an Always-ON FSM Obfuscation Method. 2018 IEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI (ISVLSI). :626–631.
The separation of manufacturing and design processes in the integrated circuit industry to tackle the ever increasing circuit complexity and time to market issues has brought with it some major security challenges. Chief among them is IP piracy by untrusted parties. Hardware obfuscation which locks the functionality and modifies the structure of an IP core to protect it from malicious modifications or piracy has been proposed as a solution. In this paper, we develop an efficient hardware obfuscation method, called Mystic (Mystifying IP Cores), to protect IP cores from reverse engineering, IP overproduction, and IP piracy. The key idea behind Mystic is to add additional state transitions to the original/functional FSM (Finite State Machine) that are taken only when incorrect keys are applied to the circuit. Using the proposed Mystic obfuscation approach, the underlying functionality of the IP core is locked and normal FSM transitions are only available to authorized chip users. The synthesis results of ITC99 circuit benchmarks for ASIC 45nm technology reveal that the Mystic protection method imposes on average 5.14% area overhead, 5.21% delay overhead, and 8.06% power consumption overheads while it exponentially lowers the probability that an unauthorized user will gain access to or derive the chip functionality.
Kinsy, M. A., Khadka, S., Isakov, M., Farrukh, A..  2017.  Hermes: Secure heterogeneous multicore architecture design. 2017 IEEE International Symposium on Hardware Oriented Security and Trust (HOST). :14–20.

The emergence of general-purpose system-on-chip (SoC) architectures has given rise to a number of significant security challenges. The current trend in SoC design is system-level integration of heterogeneous technologies consisting of a large number of processing elements such as programmable RISC cores, memory, DSPs, and accelerator function units/ASIC. These processing elements may come from different providers, and application executable code may have varying levels of trust. Some of the pressing architecture design questions are: (1) how to implement multi-level user-defined security; (2) how to optimally and securely share resources and data among processing elements. In this work, we develop a secure multicore architecture, named Hermes. It represents a new architectural framework that integrates multiple processing elements (called tenants) of secure and non-secure cores into the same chip design while (a) maintaining individual tenant security, (b) preventing data leakage and corruption, and (c) promoting collaboration among the tenants. The Hermes architecture is based on a programmable secure router interface and a trust-aware routing algorithm. With 17% hardware overhead, it enables the implementation of processing-element-oblivious secure multicore systems with a programmable distributed group key management scheme.