The physical state of a system is affected by the activities and processes in which it is tasked with carrying out. In the past there have been many instances where such physical changes have been exploited by bad actors in order to gain insight into the operational state and even the data being held on a system. This method of side channel exploitation is very often effective due to the relative difficulty of obfuscating activity on a physical level. However, in order to take advantage of side channel data streams one must have a detailed working knowledge of how a target behavior, activity, or process affects the system on a physical level which may not always be available to a would be attacker. However, the owner of a system has unfettered access to their own system and is able to introduce a target, measure the effect it has on the physical state of the system through system side channels, and use that information to identify future instances of that same target on their system. System owners using the physical state of their own system in order to identify targeted behaviors, activities, and processes will have the benefit of faster detection with only a small amount of computational resources needed. In this research effort we show the viability of using physical sensor side channel data in order to enhance existing security methods by way of the rapid detection inherent in this technique.

Degree Date

Fall 12-18-2021

Document Type


Degree Name



Computer Science and Engineering


Mitchell Thornton

Second Advisor

Eric Larson

Third Advisor

Jennifer Dworak

Fourth Advisor

Duncan MacFarlane

Fifth Advisor

Ronald Rohrer

Subject Area

Computer Engineering, Computer Science

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License