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Colloquia Series: Ning Zhang

Mar 19
11:30 a.m.
Jolley Hall, Room 309

Attack and Defense of Trusted Execution Environment


Securing highly complex networked computing systems is a challenging task. Despite significant efforts from academia, industry and government, new vulnerabilities continue to be discovered every day. As computing systems become more integrated with the society, there is a pressing need for fundamental methods to tackle the challenge.

In this talk, I will describe my research efforts to build trustworthy computing systems. A high-level introduction of current landscape of cyber security and the general principles of secure system will be presented first, followed by the key challenges and opportunities in trusted computing. I will then detail my work on realizing trusted execution environment that can defend against advanced attackers capable of launching both software attack and cold boot attack using commodity embedded devices. These efforts lead to not only the design and implementation of a cache-assisted secure execution system on ARM processor, but also insights into fundamental limitations of these security mechanisms. By addressing these key challenges, my work paves the way for the further proliferation of trusted execution environments for mission-critical applications. To conclude the talk, I will briefly present my research vision for computer security in the future.


Dr. Ning Zhang is currently a technical lead at Cyber Security Innovations of Raytheon. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Science of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Ning's research focus is system security, which lies at the intersection of security, embedded system, computer architecture and software. He has worked to protect cyber-physical military systems and critical infrastructures at Raytheon since 2007. Ning received his Ph.D. degree from the Complex Networks and Security Research Lab at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2016, under the supervision of Dr. Wenjing Lou. Ning received his M.S. in System Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, M.S. in Computer Science and B.S. in Computer Science, Economics and Mathematics from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst.