Artificial Intelligence enhanced design to counter threats to critical infrastructure and military electronics

Dr Basel Halak will enhance the security of anti-tamper embedded devices in a new Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Fellowship at the University of Southampton.

The award is Basel’s second successive Industrial Fellowship with security experts at Arm.

Embedded systems have become targets for hackers with smart devices prone to be taken over and controlled. This latest Fellowship will see the University and Arm further develop responsive and adaptive defence mechanisms to ward off unwanted security threats.

Basel, of the Cyber Security Research Group commented:

“Compromised hardware products pose serious threats if used in critical infrastructure and military applications. The continuously evolving landscape of security threats, calls for equally effective and adaptive defence mechanisms. This project will develop such a mechanism, using machine learning algorithms to achieve a rapid detection of malicious behaviours in an embedded system and intercede more quickly to stop a potential attack.”

Basel’s research expertise includes the evaluation of security of hardware devices, the development of appropriate countermeasures, the development of mathematical formalism of reliability issues in CMOS circuits (e.g. crosstalk, radiation, ageing), and the use of fault tolerance techniques to improve the robustness of electronics systems.

The latest round of Industrial Fellowships marks a new direction for the Royal Academy of Engineering, with Industrial Fellows being embedded into academic institutions for the first time, as well as the traditional approach of academic researchers being placed in an industrial environment to transfer their knowledge.