UF Engineering Professor Receives ECASE-Army Award and PECASE For Cybersecurity Research

In Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Featured, Honors & Awards, News, Research & Innovation

Domenic Forte, Ph.D., ECE

Domenic Forte, Ph.D., ECE

Professor Domenic Forte, a member of UF’s Florida Institute for Cybersecurity (FICS) Research, will develop digital fingerprint for electronic systems

Safeguarding electronic hardware is a critically important issue for everyone – from the manufacturers of smart phones to the military ensuring the safety of its electronics. The Army Research Office (ARO) has awarded Domenic Forte, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, a $1 million grant to study ways and means of securing electronic hardware systems.

The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) is given to university researchers to support important work that will affect the course of future efforts in their field. This year, the Army proceeded with awarding the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 PECASE selectees utilizing a “bridge” program called ECASE-Army in order to allow for a more rapid award transfer. Dr. Cliff X. Wang, Division Chief for the Computing Sciences Division at ARO, nominated Dr. Forte for the award, and Forte was selected as a 2017 awardee.

On July 2, the White House issued a press release, officially naming Dr. Forte as one of the PECASE awardees.

Dr. Forte’s research is entitled “SWIFT: A Signature-enabled Wireless Infrastructure for Forensics, Tracking, and Locking of Electronic Systems.” “It’s a great honor to receive this prestigious award from the Army, and I’d like to thank Dr. Cliff Wang for his unwavering support of my research. I expect SWIFT to result in game-changing capabilities that enable the Army and Department of Defense to rapidly detect and prevent interdiction, theft and reverse engineering of their classified electronic systems,” Dr. Forte said.

Dr. Forte and his team will work on technology to collect data from an electronic system that will give it a unique “fingerprint” for its working life. The resulting “fingerprint” will allow owners of the system to track it through logistics and the supply chain, lock it to prevent malicious vandalism in the supply chain and during deployment, and determine its path and location in the case of theft.

Professor Forrest Masters, Associate Dean for Research and Facilities for the College, commented, “This honor carries with it lifetime recognition for being a thought leader in a research area that is vital to the national interest. We are incredibly proud of Dr. Forte and his efforts to make electronic systems more secure from adversarial threats.”

Dr. Forte is a member of the Florida Institute for Cybersecurity (FICS) Research at the University of Florida, where his research interests include hardware security, hardware Trojan detection and prevention, security of the electronics supply chain, reverse engineering, and anti-reverse engineering. He is a co-author of the book “Counterfeit Integrated Circuits – Detection and Avoidance” and co-editor of the book “Hardware Protection through Obfuscation.”