Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Computer Engineering

Major Professor

Garrett S. Rose

Committee Members

Garrett S. Rose, Ahmedullah Aziz, Jian Liu


The advent of the Internet of Things has brought about a staggering level of inter-connectivity between common devices used every day. Unfortunately, security is not a high priority for developers designing these IoT devices. Often times the trade-off of security comes at too high of a cost in other areas, such as performance or power consumption. This is especially prevalent in resource-constrained devices, which make up a large number of IoT devices. However, a lack of security could lead to a cascade of security breaches rippling through connected devices. One of the most common attacks used by hackers is return oriented programming. With it, the attacker seeks to take over the control flow of a program by modifying function return addresses. The prevalence of these kinds of attacks makes security against them paramount. This thesis proposes a secure architecture that leverages a return address hardware stack and a cryptography unit to securely store redundant copies of return addresses to be used to maintain control flow integrity. Furthermore this work seeks to provide this layer of security against ROP attacks with as little compromise as possible in performance overhead and power consumption, making it an ideal candidate for securing resource-constrained devices.

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