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Securing embedded systems and what AI has to do with it

A Distinguished Lecture by Lejla Batina, Radboud University.

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Cryptography is considered to be the cornerstone of secure systems but its implementations are often vulnerable to physical attacks such as side-channel analysis. Side-channel analysis (SCA) has become one of the most common causes for security failures in the real world today. In this talk, I will first survey side-channel analysis attacks on implementations of cryptography and countermeasures. Then we will see how machine learning and AI have changed the cryptography landscape and attackers’ capabilities in particular. We look into several examples of AI assisting with side-channel leakage exploitation and discuss the impact of AI on the field. This goes beyond AI-assisted SCA as we see recently many attempts to advance classical cryptanalysis of symmetric ciphers using AI algorithms.

In the end, I will discuss the other direction in this AI-SCA interplay, i.e. the way side-channel analysis threatens AI implementations e.g. neural nets architectures that are commonly used in practice. In the end, we identify some avenues for future research.

The talk starts at 13:00, coffee will be served from 12:45. Please help us cut down waste by bringing your own mug.

About the speaker

Lejla Batina is a professor in embedded systems security at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She received her Ph.D. from KU Leuven, Belgium (2005) and prior to that she worked as a cryptographer for Pijnenburg Securealink in The Netherlands (2001–2003). She has coauthored more than 160 refereed articles on various topics in applied cryptography and embedded system security. Her current research interests include physical attacks on cryptographic implementations and the impact of AI on cryptography and security.

She is a senior member of IEEE and an Editorial board member of top journals in security, such as IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security and ACM Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems. She was program co-chair of CHES 2014, ACM WiSec 2021, Africacrypt 2022, SPACE 2020-2022, ACNS2024 and she co-organized (as general chair) IACR flagship conferences such as EUROCRYPT (2020-2021) and Real-world crypto symposium (RWC) 2022. Her research group at Radboud consists of 10+ researchers and 12 Ph.D. students have so far graduated under her supervision.