Candidate: Ahmed Ayoub
Title: Application-specific instruction set architecture for an ultralight hardware security module
Date: September 5, 2018
Time: 3:00 PM
Place: EIT 3145
Supervisor(s): Aagaard, Mark D.
Commercial passive radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags are designed to target specific applications and systems. These tags have extreme constraints on area, cost, and power. The functions of the current commercial RFID tags are performed all in hardware. This makes the development process for new tags relatively hard especially for customized tags. Moreover there are real security threats for these tags which make it necessary to add more security features.
In this work, a design of an ultralight hardware security module (HSM) based on an application specific instruction set architecture is proposed. The HSM protects all cryptographic keys and functions for the passive RFID tag. The benefit of using this architecture is providing required level of security and providing more flexibility without adding significant area, cost, and power. Custom hardware blocks can be included in the processor at the design time. They can be accessed easily by the supported processor's custom instructions which allow more flexibility for the system designer. The system designer can divide the system functions between the software instructions and the added hardware blocks.
The proposed work builds a platform that consists of processor's hardware and software program. The hardware development is performed only one time and it will not be repeated for different tags or applications. This reduces the design development cost because it moves considerable part of the design development process to software which is much easier and less time-consuming.
The application specific instruction set processor (ASIP) is designed to support generic set of applications. Hence, the customized tags as well as the general-purpose tags can use the same hardware architecture of the ASIP processor by changing only the program.
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