Professor Suh receives hardware security test of time award from Intel

Intel announced the winners of its second annual Hardware Security Academic Awards which are aimed at advancing innovative research addressing fundamental security challenges and boosting the industry’s ability to deliver more trustworthy foundational technologies.

This year, Intel added a Test of Time award to the program honoring papers published more than 10 years ago which have demonstrated a significant and lasting impact in the security field. Cornell ECE Professor Ed Suh is the lead author of the 2003 paper which received the inaugural Test of Time Award: “AEGIS: Architecture for Tamper-Evident and Tamper-Resistant Processing.” Suh’s research describes a processor architecture that includes a configuration where the underlying system software is untrusted. 

“The proposed architecture incorporated several novel ideas at that time, such as cryptographic measurement and attestation, memory integrity verification and memory encryption,” the award announcement states. “This work helped inspire the broader domain of trustworthy computing and the practical realization of the novel features can be found in a wide range of trusted execution environments (TEEs) deployed across the industry today.”

The paper describes a single-chip aegis processor which could be used to build computing systems secure against both physical and software attacks. “Aegis provides users with tamper-evident, authenticated environments in which any physical or software tampering by an adversary is guaranteed to be detected,” the paper states. “Efficient memory encryption and integrity verification enable the implementation of a secure computing system with the only trusted component being a single-chip aegis CPU.”

“I was honored that they picked my paper as the first Test of Time award among all the hardware security papers published more than 10 years ago,” Suh said. “It is really exciting and rewarding that our research idea became reality and is now widely used in industry. Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX) is one of the main industry developments that pioneered the wide deployment of hardware-based secure computing technologies. It's very special to get an acknowledgement from Intel that our research had an impact.”

The Hardware Security Academic Award program represents Intel’s collaborative commitment to foster advancements in the security research community. Anand Rajan, senior director of Emerging Security Lab at Intel Labs, presented this year’s awards during a reception in Boston that coincided with the USENIX Security Symposium.

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