ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
ECE News

CESCA Seminar: Don't Talk to Strangers (Without Authentication)

12:00 AM - 2:30 PM on Friday, September 27, 2013
Location: Lavery Hall 350

Dr. Patrick Schaumont, CESCA Director, will be the speaker.

Abstract: Your mother was right: you should not talk to strangers, and your embedded devices shouldn't either. Indeed, impersonating or spoofing a trusted party is a very common attack vector in networked devices. To thwart it, we need an authentication protocol, a test that establishes the identity of something or someone.

The design of authentication protocols is challenging and error prone. This talk reviews the basic ideas in the design of authentication protocols, and it will highlight fundamental requirements such as freshness and integrity. We will also discuss some of the issues that come along with embedded implementation of such protocols. Finally, we describe some recent high-profile cases of failures in authentication protocols, and show that, indeed, mothers are always right.

Speaker bio: Patrick Schaumont is an Associate Professor in Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. He received the PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from UCLA (2004). He currently serves as Director for the Center for Embedded Systems for Critical Applications, a research center within the ECE department that addresses the major challenges in the conception, design, and implementation of next-generation embedded systems. He has served on the program committee of international conferences in this field such as CHES, DATE, DAC, IEEE HOST. He is a senior member of the IEEE.


(Previous CESCA talks are available at