C-FAR Director Todd Austin and University of Michigan researchers Kaiyuan Yang, Matthew Hicks, Qing Dong, and Dennis Sylvester won the Distinguished Paper Award at the 2016 IEEE Security and Privacy Conference. This award recognizes the best paper presented at this event. The "Oakland" conference, as it is called, is widely considered the top venue in Computer and Network Security, accepting only 13% of its submissions this year.
Their paper, titled "A2: Analog Malicious Hardware" represents a major collaboration between circuits, architecture and system software researchers to build the world's first malicious processor (a processor with an unstoppable hardware back door), which currently cannot be detected by known protections (although the team is developing protections as well as more advanced attacks).
"Personally, I want to especially make note of how well Matt and Kaiyuan collaborated on this effort. The conference organizers and attendees were really impressed by the effort, stopping just short of disbelief," Austin said. "The quality and accessibility of the work will inspire a new generation of malware protections that should ultimately make future hardware more trustworthy."