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Congratulations to Dr. LaMeres and Dr. Izurieta on a new Idaho National Laboratory contract

Title: Security Analysis of Field Programmable Gate Arrays
Funding: $255,000 (3years) / $85,000 year limit
Agency: Idaho National Laboratory
Dates: Jan 17, 2024 through Sep 21, 2026

Description: Field Programable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are displacing microcontrollers and microprocessors within embedded and industrial control systems (ICS) because they provide additional capabilities and increased flexibility. FPGAs can be customized at the hardware level to perform complex operations in parallel, making quick work of tasks such as analyzing video and evaluating broad sets of input data to rapidly execute safety critical functions. Programmable hardware systems based on FPGAs provide increased adaptability to changing requirements throughout the control system lifecycle. Many consider these FPGA based platforms to be more secure than microcontroller based embedded systems. However, as FPGAs become more ubiquitous in systems such as automated driver assistance systems (ADAS), military sensors/fire-control systems, and nuclear reactor safety controls, efforts of malicious actors to infiltrate and compromise them will intensify.

Methods to protect both electronic hardware and software from compromise by malicious actors and defend against intellectual property theft are the focus of many current research efforts. These efforts are largely focused on computer platforms, embedded systems, and conventional integrated circuits because they are so widely used. Some of these new methods and technologies can potentially be adapted to protect FPGA based systems and software. This proposed LDRD will examine current research to identify technology candidates and experimentally validate their adaptability to FPGA platforms. Results will be published and developed as proof-of-concept capabilities demonstrating the potential protections offered for FPGAs.



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