PhD Position: Open-source IoT Hardware Security (Embedded RISC-V Security)



June 30, 2021


PhD Position: Open-source IoT Hardware Security (Embedded RISC-V Security)

The PhD student will be hosted by RISE's Cybersecurity Unit in Stockholm and will be enrolled in Uppsala University.

The RISE Cybersecurity Unit is among the largest public-sector cybersecurity research groups in Sweden. Our core areas of expertise are: IoT Security, Cloud Security, Communication Security, Access Control, Privacy (technical and social aspects), and Secure Virtualization and Trusted Computing. The Cybersecurity unit is the European leader in IoT security research & development. The lab members are working on IoT security since 2009 and is currently running 10 IoT security projects.

Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our mission is to pursue top-quality research and education and to interact constructively with society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden's most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has 42,000 students, 7,000 employees and a turnover of SEK 6.7 billion.

Project Description The Internet of Things (IoT) has expanded to virtually every corner of our critical infrastructure in recent years. This has led to justifiable concerns about security, which inhibits further IoT adoption and the economic benefits that come with it. There are very real security shortcomings in IoT devices. This has come about as a result of the mass production and deployment of small low-power (i.e., resource-constrained) devices without a corresponding advancement in security mechanisms for constrained environments.

Currently, IoT devices with TEE support are built on an Arm instruction set architecture (ISA) with TrustZone hardware extensions. Hardware based on the free and open-source RISC-V ISA, however, will soon be able to compete in this market. The RISC- V community produces several free and open-source CPUs every year, which can be audited by anyone interested in finding security flaws before producing them on a large scale. Furthermore, it is impossible to guarantee that TEE built upon closed-source CPU designs are free from manufacturer backdoors.

New certification criteria under the EU Cybersecurity Act will require verifiable assurances that IoT devices do not contain inherent security vulnerabilities. There is also an immediate need for very inexpensive IoT devices with secure software update and remote attestation capabilities, both of which require TEE-enabled hardware. The aim of this PhD project is to solve the difficult problem of satisfying all of these requirements simultaneously with a single open-source platform. The specific planned objectives are (i) design and implement a fully open TEE hardware solution for highly constrained RISC-V IoT devices with support for hard real-time scheduling, and (ii) develop lightweight and secure solutions for remote attestation and TEE provisioning.

The position is for four years but may be extended by department duties (at most 20%). The PhD education also includes participation in relevant courses.

Who are you? As a candidate for this PhD position, you must have (at the time of the start of the project) a Master of Science degree in computer science / embedded system / information security or related areas. Expertise and experience in embedded systems and security will be a significant part of the selection process. Excellent study results, in particular in embedded systems, computer hardware, mathematics, and computer programming would be an edge. Good command in both spoken and written English is required.

Welcome with your application ! The final application date is June 30. Your application should include:

  • a description of yourself, your research interests, reasons for applying for this particular PhD position and past experience (max. 3 pages),
  • a CV,
  • copies of relevant university degrees and transcripts, relevant publications, a copy of your MSc thesis and other relevant documents.
  • You are also encouraged to provide contact information to up to 3 reference persons as well as your earliest possible date for starting.
  • If you have any questions about the position, please contact Dr. Shahid Raza, Director of RISE Cyber security, +46768831797.

    Our union representatives: Ingemar Petermann, Sveriges Ingenjörer, 010-516 62 21 and Linda Ikatti, Unionen, 010-516 51 61.

    Calls from external recruitment companies and/or sales persons are kindly declined.

    Working in Sweden : Sweden is a fantastic place for living and working. Swedes are friendly and speak excellent English. The quality of life is high, with a strong emphasis on outdoor activities. The Swedish working climate emphasizes an open atmosphere, with active discussions involving both junior and senior staff. All PhD students and Postdocs are full employees, with standard salaries and five weeks of paid holiday. The starting salary of PhD student is currently 29000 SEK/month (around 2800Euro/month). Spouses of employees are entitled to work permits, and, after being awarded a PhD degree, non-EU-citizens are eligible for permanent work permits. Healthcare is free after a small co-pay and RISE provides additional occupational health services and subsidizes athletic costs (4000 SEK per year) such as a gym membership. The parental benefits in Sweden are among the best in the world, including extensive parental leave (for both parents), paid time off to care for sick children, and affordable day-care.

    Om jobbet Ort



    Visstidsanställning längre än 6 månader

    Job type

    Forskning - tex forskare/postdoktorer/doktorander


    Shahid Raza, Director +46768831797



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