Concordia University




March 11, 2020: Invited Speaker Seminar: Hardware-aware Protocol Design: Challenges and Opportunities for Security

Lachlan Gunn, Ph.D.
The University of Adelaide

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at 10:45 am
Room EV003.309


Computer systems today benefit from a multitude of hardware security mechanisms, from memory protection units, to cryptographic co-processors, to trusted execution environments.  These can be used in a straightforward way to make the task of an attacker more difficult, but the greatest benefits come when they are used systematically to further the application at hand.  By effectively taking advantage of these hardware primitives, protocols can make additional assumptions that change their fundamental properties.

In this talk, I will show how to incorporate this knowledge of the available hardware into secure messaging and Byzantine fault tolerance protocols. I will show how hardware features present in recent desktop processors can circumvent the cryptographic deniability properties of secure messaging protocols, and show how hardware-awareness can be used to increase the performance and robustness of Byzantine fault tolerance protocols.


Lachlan J. Gunn ( is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Secure Systems Group at Aalto University, Finland. Prior to this, he was a Research Associate in the Computational Learning Systems Laboratory of the University of South Australia. He received a Ph.D degree in Electrical and Electronic engineering from The University of Adelaide, Australia, in 2018, following completion of B.Eng. (EEE, Hons) and B.Math. & Comp.Sc. (Pure) degrees in 2012. His research interests include systems security, distributed computing, and applied cryptography.


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