Securing Nano-Biosensor Communications and Data

***Archived: This is a past project,  it is not on offer at the moment!***

Contact: Dr. Sandro Carrara, Senior Researcher

The proliferation of bio-sensors in both implantable and non-implantable applications introduces various security and privacy vulnerabilities.  Confidentiality and integrity of data along with authentication of both the sensor and the reader present classical cryptographic problems.  However the limited computational and energy resources of new nano-bio-sensors prevent standard cryptographic implementations.

The Master Project

The purpose of this master project is to investigate methods for implementing security functions in a nano-biosensor while possibly leveraging the unique capabilities and requirements of the nano-biosensor.  These include computation and energy constraints, but also the possibility of using biological identifiers, biological random number generation, and leveraging low data rates.    The student will build on existing nano-biosensors being developed at EPFL and use various prototyping tools and systems to design and validate the proposed embedded crypto-systems.   Watermarking methods  in biosensor data will also be explored as a technique for integrity and authenticity checking.

Tasks of the students:

  • Develop utility and threat models for nano-biosensors
  • Characterize nano-biosensor computational constraints and resources
  • Characterize nano-biosensor data for use in cryptographic functions
  • Develop lightweight algorithms, protocols and hardware/software implementations for necessary cryptographic functions, drawing upon similar work in the RFID and Wireless Sensor network areas.
  • Develop a prototype secure nano-biosensor which demonstrates resistance against a threat model.


  • Basic knowledge of Computer Security (practical, rather than theoretical)
  • Basic Knowledge of Embedded System design and prototyping including low-power techniques


***Archived: This is a past project,  it is not on offer at the moment!***