American tech giant Intel has awarded NYU Abu Dhabi a three-year, $300,000 grant to help with research into new ways of securely testing and configuring computer chips by third-party companies, it was announced on Sunday.
The research, being conducted by NYU Abu Dhabi Associate Dean of Engineering Ozgur Sinanoglu, allows tech companies to obfuscate security critical data – such as the chips serial ID – by using a secret key pre-loaded onto the chip.
Once hidden, a third-party company can test and configure each chip before being sold, but without access to the chip’s security critical data.
With the results of this research, hardware designers will be able to ensure that chips they produce cannot be reverse-engineered by attackers. The research will also demonstrate the commercial viability of process by assessing low-cost obfuscation techniques and their integration across the electronic chip supply chain.
“The development of this obfuscation process represents a central breakthrough in the production of the computer chip,” Sinanoglu said. “The NYUAD Design for Excellence team are immensely proud of the recognition that this project has received thus far.”
“This support from Intel is a signal of the potential for this advancement in cybersecurity and its impact on the electronic chip supply chain,” he said. “The funding vindicates the work being undertaken by our team, and the ground breaking research happening at NYU Abu Dhabi.”
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