Digital Threats: Research and Practice     
Special Issue on the Digital Threats of Hardware Security   
Guest Editors:   
Aydin Aysu, North Carolina State University, USA (    
Scott Graham, US Air Force Institute of Technology, USA (


From a cybersecurity perspective, hardware has often been viewed as
the trusted part of computing systems and the last fortress of defense
against potential attackers. However, advanced threats such as StuxNet
made it clear that the air gap is no longer a defense. And more recent
threats such as Meltdown/Spectre demonstrate that hardware
architecture itself can be used as a Digital Threat. Indeed, the
attack surface for modern systems may now include programmable logic
controller (PLC) rootkits, fake or cloned chips that deliver degraded
or malicious behavior, hardware Trojans that can be utilized as kill
switches, and near invisible chips that are not part of original board
designs. Unfortunately, hardware attacks have also become easier to
develop, cheaper to deploy, and more feasible in more systems. If
hardware can no longer be considered the effortless root of trust,
then new theory, techniques, and tools must be developed to address
these problems and to ensure secure design, synthesis, integration,
and deployment of hardware components.
DTRAP aims to create a special issue highlighting the methods by which
hardware can be used as a Digital Threat, or as a
countermeasure. Topics include:
  * Case studies on hardware-based threat effectiveness and countermeasures   
  * Hardware tampering and tamper-resistance   
  * Hardware Trojans and Backdoors   
  * Reverse engineering and countermeasures   
  * Clone identification and anti-counterfeiting   
  * Security in reconfigurable hardware   
  * Hardware-based security primitives (PUFs, RNGs)   
  * Side-channel attacks and defenses   
  * Fault attacks and countermeasures   
  * Emerging hardware authentication primitives   
  * Automatic identification of hardware security-critical parts   
  * Security-aware architectures    
  * Application of machine learning to hardware security   
  * Integration of secure hardware with higher level software,
    firmware, and micro-architectures
  * Implementation of next-generation cryptography (homomorphic
    encryption, post-quantum, lightweight, etc.)
DTRAP invites both academics and practitioners to submit papers for
consideration in the journal. Extended conference papers are welcome,
provided they have been revised to include at least 25% new content
(and the previously published proceedings paper is submitted along
with the research paper). Practitioners are welcome to submit a
journal style research paper or a "Field Notes" paper. A "Field Notes"
paper is a short case report about emerging threats and developments,
emphasizing a particular development or application over a rigorous
study or proof of security.
To submit to this special issue, please visit ACM Manuscript Central
at and select paper type
"Special Issue on the Digital Threats of Hardware Security." Details
of the author guidelines for DTRAP are available at
Important Dates   
Paper submission due: July 15, 2020   
Initial review feedback: October 15, 2020   
Revision due: December 15, 2020   
Final review decision: March 2021