Trent Callahan and Trevor Ammons each awarded a $1,500 NSF travel grant

October 8, 2019

Callahan and Ammons

USF Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) undergraduate students Trent Callahan and Trevor Ammons have each been awarded a $1,500 NSF travel grant to attend the upcoming 2019 Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace Principal Investigators’ (SaTC PI) Meeting.

Unlike regular embedded systems such as credit cards, implantable medical devices and smart homes/fabrics constitute another category called deeply-embedded systems, embedded in human bodies and objects. Breach of security here does not just cost us dollars and cents, but people’s lives could be in danger. Current wide-spread public key cryptographic algorithms and architectures such as ECC and RSA are going to be broken at the presence of quantum computers. We cannot wait until such attacks are mounted to disrupt our cryptographic authentication, digital signatures, and key exchange and refreshment.

Callahan and Ammons will be attending the SaTC PI meeting to present a poster showcasing their research done on the project titled “SaTC: CORE: Medium: Collaborative: Countermeasures Against Side-Channels Attacks Targeting Hardware and Embedded System Implementations of Post-Quantum Cryptographic Algorithms.”

“I’m excited for the opportunity to see all the work that is being done under NSF, as well as getting to show off some of the exciting developments of post-quantum computing cryptography and getting to work hands-on with something that has such a large impact on our everyday lives,” Ammons said.

“Post-quantum cryptography is imperative for the future of secure computing, and it’s important to ensure algorithm implementations on hardware are well-guarded against side-channel attacks,” Callahan said.

Callahan and Ammons are Computer Engineering NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) students in Assistant Professor Mehran Mozaffari Kermani’s Cryptographic Engineering and Hardware Security lab. They are also co-advised by Assistant Professor Robert Karam.

“Enabling deeply-embedded system security at the presence of quantum attacks through post-quantum cryptographic engineering is going to be critical. Side-channel attacks in hardware need to be thwarted before such quantum attacks take over our security mechanisms,” Mozaffari Kermani stated.

The SaTC PI meeting will be held on October 28-29 at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia.