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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N028201/1
Title: Border Patrol: Improving Smart Device Security through Type-Aware Systems Design
Principal Investigator: Vanderbauwhede, Dr W
Other Investigators:
Fensch, Dr C Scholz, Professor S Yoshida, Professor N
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
ABB EDF Energy Xilinx
Department: School of Computing Science
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 February 2017 Ends: 31 January 2022 Value (£): 1,765,760
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Computer Sys. & Architecture Fundamentals of Computing
VLSI Design
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
02 Feb 2016 DETIPS Full Proposals Meeting 2 February 2016 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
There are increasing concerns about the safety and security of critical infrastructure such as nuclear power plants, the electricity grid and other utilities in the face of possible cyber attacks. As ageing controllers are replaced by smart devices based on Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and embedded microprocessors, the safety of such devices raises many concerns. In particular, there is the very real risk of malicious functionality hidden in the silicon or in software binaries, dormant and waiting to be activated. Current

hardware and software systems are of such complexity that it is impossible to discover such malicious code through testing.

We aim to address this problem by closely connecting the system design specification with the actual implementation through the use of a formal design methodology based on type systems with static and dynamic type checking. The type system will be used as a formal language to encode the design specification so that the actual implementation will automatically be checked against the specification.

Static type checking of data types and multiparty session types can ensure the correctness of the interaction between the components. However, as static checking assume full access to the design source code it cannot be used to protect against potential threads issuing from third-party functional blocks (know as ``Intellectual Property Cores'' or IP cores) that are commonly used in hardware design:

the provider of the IP core can claim adherence to the types and protocols, so that the IP core will meet the compile-time requirements, but the run-time the behaviour cannot be controlled using static techniques. The same applies to third-party compiled software libraries.

Therefore we propose to use run-time checking of data types as well as session types at the boundaries of untrusted modules ("Border Patrol"), so that any intentional or unintentional

breach of the specification will safely be intercepted.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk