Security as a new dimension in embedded system design

Paul Kocher, Ruby Lee, Gary McGraw, Anand Raghunathan, Srivaths Ravi

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

295 Scopus citations


The growing number of instances of breaches in information security in the last few years has created a compelling case for efforts towards secure electronic systems. Embedded systems, which will be ubiquitously used to capture, store, manipulate, and access data of a sensitive nature, pose several unique and interesting security challenges. Security has been the subject of intensive research in the areas of cryptography, computing, and networking. However, security is often mis-construed by embedded system designers as the addition of features, such as specific cryptographic algorithms and security protocols, to the system. In reality, it is an entirely new metric that designers should consider throughout the design process, along with other metrics such as cost, performance, and power. This paper is intended to introduce embedded system designers and design tool developers to the challenges involved in designing secure embedded systems. We attempt to provide a unified view of embedded system security by first analyzing the typical functional security requirements for embedded systems from an end-user perspective. We then identify the implied challenges for embedded system architects, as well as hardware and software designers (e.g., tamper-resistant embedded system design, processing requirements for security, impact of security on battery life for battery-powered systems, etc.). We also survey solution techniques to address these challenges, drawing from both current practice and emerging research, and identify open research problems that will require innovations in embedded system architecture and design methodologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-760
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings - Design Automation Conference
StatePublished - 2004
EventProceedings of the 41st Design Automation Conference - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Jun 7 2004Jun 11 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Control and Systems Engineering


  • Architectures
  • Battery Life
  • Cryptography
  • Design
  • Design Methodologies
  • Digital Rights Management
  • Embedded Systems
  • Performance
  • Security
  • Security Processing
  • Security Protocols
  • Software Attacks
  • Tamper Resistance
  • Trusted Computing
  • Viruses


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