Making IT security accessible: MPI-SP researchers part of CASA science comic project
Extraordinary project in the field of science communication of the Cluster of Excellence CASA with the participation of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy
Using vivid pictures to convey complex knowledge about IT security – that is the goal of the “Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries” CASA Cluster of Excellence’s science comics project: “A Deep Dive Into Hub B and the Swirl of Embedded Security” is the third comic in the series that introduces readers to the research of the CASA Cluster of Excellence in an extraordinary way, this time with participation of researchers from MPI-SP.
Beaver Paul Dives into the World of Embedded Security
Deep down in a valley of the CASA universe, beavers Paul and Carl are tinkering to stabilize their smart dam. But no matter how hard they try, they can't seem to solve the problem, and the cause of the trouble remains a mystery. Encouraged by their mother's tale of a mysterious settlement of security experts at the bottom of their river, Beaver Paul begins an adventurous dive.
Together with Paul, readers will go on a journey into the underwater world of CASA's Research Hub B and learn about the research topics and challenges that scientists in the field of “Embedded Security” deal with on a daily basis. From hardware Trojans to side-channel attacks, they will learn about the ways in which potentially malicious users can penetrate supposedly secure hardware systems. The researchers they meet in the course of the comic show them the defense mechanisms being researched and how attacks can be detected and prevented, for example, thanks to hardware reverse engineering, intelligent reflecting surfaces or masking. The presentation of various CASA research projects is complemented by real-life stories and a CASA Wiki that explains technical terms in more detail.
“With this exciting visual tale, we want to take both experts and laypeople into the fascinating world of embedded security, make complex concepts understandable, and arouse the curiosity of readers with different backgrounds,” explains Christof Paar, Director at MPI-SP and Leader of Research Hub B at CASA. Steffen Becker, one of the contributors to the comic, also describes the process of creating the comic with the Ellery Studio agency from Berlin as rewarding: “As scientists, we are constantly looking for new ways to communicate our research beyond the academic world. Working with a skilled and experienced team of comic artists to create our science comic about embedded security was an immensely rewarding experience.”
The original publications about the concepts and methods presented in this comic can be found here:
- On the Design and Misuse of Microcoded (Embedded) Processors — A Cautionary Note
- Red Team vs. Blue Team: A Real-World Hardware Trojan Detection Case Study Across Four Modern CMOS Technology Generations
- IRShield: A Countermeasure Against Adversarial Physical-Layer Wireless Sensing
- Anti-Tamper Radio: System-Level Tamper Detection for Computing Systems
- Automated Generation of Masked Hardware
- SILVER – Statistical Independence and Leakage Verification
In addition to the mentioned Christof Paar and Steffen Becker, MPI-SP researchers Nils Albartus, Julian Speith, Paul Staat, and Johannes Tobisch were also contributors to the science comic.