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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Tilman Wolf

Subject Categories

Computer and Systems Architecture | Hardware Systems | VLSI and Circuits, Embedded and Hardware Systems


Processor-based embedded systems are integrated into many aspects of everyday life such as industrial control, automotive systems, healthcare, the Internet of Things, etc. As Moore’s law progresses, these embedded systems have moved from simple microcontrollers to full-scale embedded computing systems with multiple processor cores and operating systems support. At the same time, the security of these devices has also become a key concern. Our main focus in this work is the security and privacy of the embedded systems used in IoT systems. In the first part of this work, we take a look at the security of embedded systems from a hardware point of view. We describe why we believe current security approaches fall short when it comes to securing modern embedded processors. We propose our hardware monitoring solution and expand it to cover a variety of embedded systems with different architectural specifications and applications. In the second part, we shift our focus from hardware to software and protocols involved in securing IoT systems and maintaining the privacy of the data they exchange. We argue why conventional financial mechanisms cannot be applied to this context when trying to monetize data sharing. We propose a financial mechanism based on blockchain technology and demonstrate how it can replace conventional methods. We discuss how the high processing demand of such protocols hinders widespread adoption on different IoT systems, mostly ones based on low-end embedded processors. To eliminate that barrier, we propose a novel, lightweight payment verification protocol that uses a hybrid IoT ecosystem based on low-end and mid-range embedded systems that can be horizontally integrated with other ecosystems and exchange data and assets with monetary values such as cryptocurrencies. The last part of this work is the further expansion of the aforementioned hardware monitoring approach to enable it to secure high-end embedded systems. Using this new hardware monitoring system, we build a prototype IoT system that runs our proposed lightweight payment verification protocol to exchange data and money. By evaluating this system, we illustrate how our hardware and software approaches can be complementary to each other to safeguard IoT devices against remote attacks.