Microelectronics for security

Keywords: hardware for cryptography; biometrics and crypto-biometrics; physical unclonable functions (PUFs); secure FPGAs and integrated circuits; hardware attacks; authentication and secure communications


This research line focuses on microelectronic solutions for security applications. The objectives are to verify the identity of hardware devices and users as well as to store and communicate sensitive information, resorting to the use of techniques from cryptography, biometrics, and their combination (crypto-biometrics). Security against hardware attacks is especially analyzed, particularly fault injection and side-channel attacks such as differential power analysis (DPA) and differential electromagnetic attacks (DEMA). Microelectronic solutions are aimed at constructions and algorithms providing security together with efficient features of size, power consumption and operation speed.
The activities within this research line are devoted to:

  • Exploration of cryptographic algorithms from a secure hardware implementation point of view. Development of architectures for such algorithms with optimized features in terms of VLSI design and resistance against attacks.
  • Analysis of side-channel and fault-injection attack sources. Development of robust hardware solutions as well as setups and benchmarks to measure the security of microelectronic realizations against attacks. Vulnerability metrics.
  • Design of modules based on PUFs (within programmable devices and/or integrated circuits) to implement security primitives particularly related to key generation, identifiers, and random numbers.
  • Hardware implementation of algorithms to process and recognize biometric features such as fingerprints, faces, gait, voice, etc. Design of microelectronic solutions for biometric, multi-biometric, and crypto-biometric systems.
  • Application of the above solutions to wearable devices, tokens, tags, consumer electronic devices, control systems, etc.