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TSS Seminar: Sean Smith: "Magic Boxes: Hardware-Based Cybersecurity"

Event Type
Information Trust Institute
3405 Siebel Center
Sep 12, 2007   4:00 pm  
Sean Smith, Dartmouth College
Originating Calendar
Information Trust Institute (ITI) archival calendar


Securing computation persists in being a significant unsolved hard problem in the world's information infrastructure. However, an inescapable fact of computation is that it must take place on computing hardware. Consequently, a promising approach to making this hard problem easier is to change this basic hardware. The basic approach here is to build computational devices that somehow deserve to be trusted, and then cleverly embed them in larger computational systems. However, the devil lies in the details: what do these "trustworthy" devices actually do, and how do we secure big computations with small devices?

This talk will review some of the tools and techniques in this area, and discuss some of my lab's research here.


Prof. Sean Smith has been working in information security (attacks and defenses, for industry and government) since before there was a Web. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, he performed security reviews, designs, analyses, and briefings for a wide variety of public-sector clients; at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, he designed the security architecture for (and helped code and test) the IBM 4758 secure coprocessor, and then led the formal modeling and verification work that earned it the world's first FIPS 140-1 Level 4 security validation. In July 2000, Smith left IBM for Dartmouth, since he was convinced that the academic education and research environment is a better venue for changing the world. His current work investigates how to build trustworthy systems in the real world.



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