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Research Fellow in Capability Architectures in Trusted Execution

Business & Management Studies - UK Jobs
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Salary: Full time starting salary is normally in the range £31,406 to £40,927, with potential progression once in post to £43,434.

Contract Type: Fixed term contract up to June 2024

Role Summary

Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) shield computations using security-sensitive data (e.g. personal data, banking information, or encryption keys) inside a secure “enclave” from the rest of the untrusted operating system. A TEE protects its data and code even if an attacker has gained full root access to the untrusted parts of the system. Today, TEEs like ARM Trustzone and Intel SGX are therefore widely used in general-purposes devices, including most laptops and smartphones. But with increasingly wide-spread use, TEEs have proven vulnerable to a number of hardware and software-based attacks, often leading to the complete compromise of the protected data.

In this project, we will use capability architectures (as e.g. developed by the CHERI project) to protect TEEs against such state-of-the-art attacks. We address a wide range of threats from software vulnerabilities such as buffer overflows to sophisticated hardware attacks like fault injection. CAP-TEE will provide a strong, open-source basis for the future generation of more secure TEEs.

When developing such disruptive technologies, it is key to minimise the efforts for porting existing codebases to the new system to facilitate adoption in practice. In CAP-TEE, we therefore focus on techniques to ease the transition to our capability-enabled TEE. In industrial cases studies for the automotive and rail sector, we will demonstrate how complex code written in a memory-unsafe language like C(++) can be seamlessly moved to our platform to benefit from increased security without a full redesign.

  • Work within specified research grants and projects and contribute to writing bids
  • Operate within area of specialism
  • Analyse and interpret research findings and results
  • Contribute to generating funding
  • Contribute to licensing or spin out deals with demonstrated commercial success (such as revenues, asset or company sales, IP generated) and/or public understanding of the discipline or similar

Person Specification

  • First degree in area of specialism (e.g. cyber security, computer science, or electrical engineering) and a higher degree, or close to completing, (PhD) relevant to research area or equivalent qualifications.
  • Strong experience in writing system level or low-level code in programming languages such as C, C++, or Rust.
  • Knowledge of ARM, preferably at the assembly programming level.
  • Experience in a relevant area such as embedded systems, automotive security, and/or firmware analysis.
  • Experience in fuzzing is desirable.
  • High level analytical capability
  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly
  • Fluency in relevant models, techniques or methods and ability to contribute to developing new ones
  • Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration
  • Co-ordinate own work with others
  • Contribute to the planning and organising of the research programme and/or specific research project

Informal enquires can be made to David Oswald; d.f.oswald@bham.ac.uk.

To download the details of this position and submit an electronic application online please click on the Apply Online button below, please quote the appropriate Job Ref in all enquiries, alternatively information can be obtained from http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/staff/jobs/index.aspx

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment
We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working

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