A Secure Adaptive Network Processor
Harper, Scott Jeffery
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Network processors are becoming a predominant feature in the field of network hardware. As new network protocols emerge and data speeds increase, contemporary general-purpose network processors are entering their second generation and academic research is being actively conducted into new techniques for the design and implementation of these systems. At the same time, systems ranging from secured military communications equipment to consumer devices are being updated to provide network connectivity. Many of these devices require, or would benefit from, the inclusion of device security in addition to data security. Whether it is a top-secret encryption scheme that must be concealed or a personal device that needs protection against unauthorized use, security of the device itself is becoming an important factor in system design. Unfortunately, current network processor solutions were not developed with device security in mind. A secure adaptive network processor can provide the means to fill this gap while continuing to provide full support for emerging communication protocols. This dissertation describes the concept and structure of one such device. Analysis of the hardware security provided by the proposed device is provided to highlight strengths and weaknesses, while a prototype system is developed to allow it to be embedded into practical applications for investigation. Two such applications are developed, using the device to provide support for both a secure network edge device and a user-adaptable network gateway. Results of these experiments indicate that the proposed device is useful both as a hardware security measure and as a basis for user adaptation of information-handling systems.
- Doctoral Dissertations