Abu Dhabi: The Technology Innovation Institute (TII), the applied research division of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), has inaugurated state-of-the-art hardware security research laboratories in Abu Dhabi. These cutting-edge labs, the first of their kind in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, are equipped with advanced capabilities for testing hardware cryptographic implementations and analyzing the security of embedded systems.
The specialized labs at TII’s Cryptography Research Centre (CRC) focus on techniques such as side-channel analysis, fault-injection-based attacks, hardware penetration testing, and fuzzing. They also leverage machine learning algorithms for reverse engineering, enabling the detection of sophisticated malware and ransomware.
The hardware laboratories aim to become a comprehensive solution for design security verification and evaluation across various sectors, including national safety, automotive, IoT-based applications (such as smart homes and smart meters), industrial systems (smart grids), healthcare (medical device security), and post-quantum cryptographic resistant devices. Key projects benefiting from these verification capabilities include embedded systems, smartcards, PCBs, ASIC chips, FPGA boards, COTS microcontrollers, and other devices.
Equipped with advanced equipment such as high-end measurement instruments, oscilloscopes, signal generators, logic analyzers, lasers, and dedicated test benches for side-channel and fault-injection testing, the labs provide a comprehensive research environment. They also ensure data confidentiality and integrity by hosting dedicated storage servers in an air-gapped environment. Supporting the complete lifecycle of embedded cryptography, from design to implementation, verification, and security evaluation, the labs play a crucial role in strengthening the UAE’s tech sovereignty in this domain.
Dr. Ray O. Johnson, CEO of TII and ASPIRE, remarked that, “Security ranks among the key enabling technologies of our time, and we are incredibly pleased to contribute to their advancement in this region through TII’s high-tech hardware security lab. Cyber-security is a particularly challenging domain in the digital-first world we live in where quantum computing is rapidly becoming a reality, and malicious actors are always trying to break into complex security protocols. As a tech enabler, TII is committed to accelerating breakthroughs that keep us two steps ahead and help preserve our security.”
In addition to their technical capabilities, the labs offer documentation and training support, contributing to TII’s broader vision of addressing ongoing threats and potential challenges faced by digital societies today and in the future.
The launch of these cutting-edge hardware security research laboratories positions Abu Dhabi and the MENA region at the forefront of advanced cryptographic research and enhances the region’s capabilities in ensuring secure and resilient digital systems across various sectors.