EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X037290/1
Title: SECCOM: Securing composable hardware platforms
Principal Investigator: Goodacre, Professor J
Other Investigators:
Magri, Dr B Cordeiro, Dr LC
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Thales Ltd
Department: Computer Science
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 September 2023 Ends: 28 February 2026 Value (£): 789,633
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Computer Sys. & Architecture Fundamentals of Computing
Modelling & simul. of IT sys.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
20 Feb 2023 Cybersecurity Research Institutes Research Projects Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Aligned with the UK Research Institute in Secure Hardware and Embedded Systems (RISE), this project seeks to identify and address the critical security issues arising from the creation of hardware platforms through the use of composable hardware systems.

Predominantly, current hardware architectures are statically defined and deliver therefore a predetermined level of security and properties by which its resilience can be verified.

In the simplest case, a static design supporting hardware extension, for example through a exported bus, such as PCIe, will deviate from the design's initial security principles and will require mechanisms of encapsulation in its security model to constrain the indeterminable mechanisms by which extension of a system can perturb a static security model.

Although the provision of composable hardware may have understood security principles covering the creation of the resulting hardware platform, the arbitrary nature of composing the elements of a computer means that the resulting permutations lack any model of security by which threat models and mitigations can be evaluated.

The project proposes to conceptualise and evaluate across the design space of composable hardware platforms to discover whether key security properties and threat models can be extracted and used to create a security model from which the security of composed hardware can be validated. Further, given the dynamic nature of composed hardware, we will also investigate whether composed hardware can use dynamic verification mechanisms to assert security policy at runtime.

Beginning with platforms composed using PCI express switches in which the devices of a host can be shared and allocated dynamically between hosts, we will investigate the evolving and increased flexibility from Compute Express Link (CXL) and its ability to remove the host and device hierarchy while permitting any compute element to be a host or device while also providing shared access across the platform.

The objective outcome is to provide industry with a security model for a composed hardware platform from which security principles can be reasoned and demonstrated by its dynamic verification.

Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk