tamper resistant sensor nodes

About the TAMPRES Project

The Internet of Things envisions the integration of computers and the physical world into a seamless global communication network. Wireless sensor networks contribute to this goal by sensing the state of the real world and continuously updating its digital representation.
With the growing impact of the Internet of Things the trustworthiness of all its components is of utmost importance. When wireless sensor networks become part of this Future Internet, it is likely that one of the most vulnerable parts in the chain of trust will be the wireless sensor nodes themselves: because typical applications include their unattended operation at remote sites, these devices can not only be attacked by network based approaches but also by means of physical tampering. Consequently, protecting the wireless sensor nodes is essential since compromised nodes put the whole system at risk.
TAMPRES aims at significantly improving the trustworthiness of wireless sensor nodes by investigating protection mechanisms in the following areas:

  • Prevention of side-channel and fault-injection attacks: evaluation and development of appropriate countermeasures while also considering the severe constraints of energy and silicon area.
  • Provision of security by design: development of secure lightweight cryptographic cores as well as secure integration of the whole system including hardware components and secure low level software services.

The methodology of TAMPRES is characterised by an attack-driven approach (please turn over) on the system level as well as for individual circuits, components and architecture aspects. We analyze how real hardware can be compromised and develop according countermeasures. The range of resulting protection mechanisms will be evaluated by experiments with existing and recently manufactured ASICs using both the NXP and the IHP technology to ensure manufacturer independence. TAMPRES will finally integrate its findings into a methodology which supports system designers in selecting the appropriate means to protect new devices.