227-0579-00L  Hardware Security

SemesterAutumn Semester 2020
LecturersK. Razavi
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


227-0579-00 GHardware Security
An online version will be offered only to the students in the risk group.

Additional course hours:
Wed, 30.09.2020, 12-13h, room ETZ E6
Wed, 14.10.2020, 12-13h, room ETZ E6
4 hrs
Mon16:15-18:00ETZ E 6 »
Wed10:15-12:00ETZ E 6 »
30.09.12:15-13:00ETZ E 6 »
14.10.12:15-13:00ETZ E 6 »
16.12.18:15-19:00ETZ E 6 »
K. Razavi

Catalogue data

AbstractThis course covers the security of commodity computer hardware (e.g., CPU, DRAM, etc.) with a special focus on cutting-edge hands-on research. The aim of the course is familiarizing the students with hardware security and more specifically microarchitectural and circuit-level attacks and defenses through lectures, reviewing and discussing papers, and executing some of these advanced attacks.
ObjectiveBy the end of the course, the students will be familiar with the state of the art in commodity computer hardware attacks and defenses. More specifically, the students will learn about:

- security problems of commodity hardware that we use everyday and how you can defend against them.
- relevant computer architecture and operating system aspects of these issues.
- hands-on techniques for performing hardware attacks.
- writing critical reviews and constructive discussions with peers on this topic.

This is the course where you get credit points by building some of the most advanced exploits on the planet! The luckiest team will collect a Best Demo Award at the end of the course.
LiteratureSlides, relevant literature and manuals will be made available during the course.
Prerequisites / NoticeKnowledge of systems programming and computer architecture is a plus.

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits6 credits
ExaminersK. Razavi
Typegraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition only possible after re-enrolling for the course unit.
Additional information on mode of examinationThe final grade is composed of grades given to individual practical assignments (30%), group assignments (40%) and paper reviews (30%).

- Individual practical assignments are graded based on correctness/quality of the produced code (60%) and on oral discussions based on the assignments and relevant lectures (40%).
- Group assignments are graded based on correctness/quality of the produced code (100%).
- Reviews are graded on the quality of the review, i.e. a succinct summary of the paper, critical analysis of the positive and negative aspects, and language (70%) and the participation and engagement with peers when discussing the papers or managing the discussion when assigned as a discussion leader (30%).

Learning materials

No public learning materials available.
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


Places36 at the most
Beginning of registration periodRegistration possible from 31.07.2020
PriorityRegistration for the course unit is only possible for the primary target group
Primary target groupElectrical Engin. + Information Technology MSc (237000)
Cyber Security MSc (260000)
Cyber Security MSc (EPFL) (260100)
Computer Science MSc (263000)
Waiting listuntil 27.09.2020

Offered in

Cyber Security MasterElectivesWInformation
Electrical Engineering and Information Technology MasterCore SubjectsWInformation
Electrical Engineering and Information Technology MasterAdvanced Core CoursesWInformation
Computer Science MasterFocus Elective Courses Information SecurityWInformation
Computer Science MasterElective CoursesWInformation