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  1. Various hardware security solutions have been developed recently to help counter hardware level attacks such as hardware Trojan, integrated circuit (IC) counterfeiting and intellectual property (IP) clone/piracy. However, existing solutions often provide specific types of protections. While these solutions achieve great success in preventing even advanced hardware attacks, the compatibility of among these hardware security methods are rarely discussed. The inconsistency hampers with the development of a comprehensive solution for hardware IC and IP from various attacks. In this paper, we develop a security primitive generator to help solve the compatibility issue among different protection techniques. Specifically, we focus on two modern IC/IP protection methods, logic locking and watermarking. A combined locking and watermarking technique is developed based on enhanced finite state machines (FSMs). The security primitive generator will take user-specified constraints and automatically generate an FSM module to perform both logic locking and watermarking. The generated FSM can be integrated into any designs for protection. Our experimental results show that the generator can facilitate circuit protection and provide the flexibility for users to achieve a better tradeoff between security levels and design overheads.
  2. With many fabless companies outsourcing integrated circuit (IC) fabrication, the extent of design information recoverable by any third-party foundry remains clouded. While traditional reverse engineering schemes from the layout employ expensive high-resolution imaging techniques to recover design information, the extent of design information that can be recovered by the foundry remains ambiguous. To address this ambiguity, we propose ReGDS, a layout reverse engineering (RE) framework, posing as an inside-foundry attack to acquire original design intent. Our framework uses the layout, in GDSII format, and the technology library to extract the transistor-level connectivity information, and exploits unique relationship-based matching to identify logic gates and thereby, recover the original gate-level netlist. Employing circuits ranging from few hundreds to millions of transistors, we validate the scalability of our framework and demonstrate 100% recovery of the original design from the layout. To further validate the effectiveness of the framework in the presence of obfuscation schemes, we apply ReGDS to layouts of conventional XOR/MUX locked circuits and successfully recover the obfuscated netlist. By applying the Boolean SATisfiability (SAT) attack on the recovered obfuscated netlist, one can recover the entire key and, thereby, retrieve the original design intent. Thus ReGDS results in accelerated acquisition of themore »gate-level netlist by the attacker, in comparison to imaging-based RE schemes. Our experiments unearth the potential threat of possible intellectual property (IP) piracy at any third-party foundry.« less
  3. The ability to reverse engineer a hardware netlist in order to detect malicious logic has become an important problem in recent years. Much work has been done on algorithmically identifying structure and state in circuits; the first step of which is to separate control signals from data signals. The most current tools rely on topological comparisons of logic in order to identify signals which are uniquely structured in the netlist, as these signals are likely control signals. However, topological comparisons become less effective when a netlist has been resynthesized and optimized. We present a new tool, RELIC-FUN, based on netlist slicing and functional comparison of logic. Experimental results show that depending on netlist size, optimization, and control logic density, the proposed algorithm can be more accurate, and faster, than existing topological algorithms in many cases.
  4. Increasingly complex Intellectual Property (IP) design, coupled with shorter Time-To-Market (TTM), breeds flaws at various levels of the Integrated Circuit (IC) production. With access to IPs at all stages of production, design defects can easily be found and corrected, i.e., knowledge of the Register Transfer Level (RTL) code allows for the option of easy defect detection. However, third-party IPs are typically delivered as hard IPs or gate-level netlists, which complicates the defect detection process. The inaccessibility of source RTL code and the lack of RTL recovery tools make the task of finding high-level security flaws in logic intractable. Upon this request, in this paper, we present an RTL recovery tool suite named RERTL that leverages advanced graph algorithms including Lengauer-Tarjan's dominator tree and Euler tour tree technique to assist in netlist analysis. Supported by RERTL, logical states and their interactions are recovered from the initial design in the format of gate-level netlists. After the recovery of state interaction, RERTL further converts the full design into human-readable RTL. A series of netlist case studies were examined using RERTL covering benign logic structures, designs with accidental defects, and designs with deliberate backdoors. The experimental results show that all of our designs atmore »various complexities were recoverable within seconds.« less
  5. Assuring the quality and the trustworthiness of third party resources has been a hard problem to tackle. Researchers have shown that analyzing Integrated Circuits (IC), without the aid of golden models, is challenging. In this paper we discuss a toolset, NETA, designed to aid IP users in assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility of their IC or third party IP core. The discussed toolset gives access to a slew of gate-level analysis tools, many of which are heuristic-based, for the purposes of extracting high-level circuit design information. NETA majorly comprises the following tools: RELIC, REBUS, REPCA, REFSM, and REPATH. The first step involved in netlist analysis falls to signal classification. RELIC uses a heuristic based fan-in structure matcher to determine the uniqueness of each signal in the netlist. REBUS finds word groups by leveraging the data bus in the netlist in conjunction with RELIC's signal comparison through heuristic verification of input structures. REPCA on the other hand tries to improve upon the standard bruteforce RELIC comparison by leveraging the data analysis technique of PCA and a sparse RELIC analysis on all signals. Given a netlist and a set of registers, REFSM reconstructs the logic which represents the behavior of amore »particular register set over the course of the operation of a given netlist. REFSM has been shown useful for examining register interaction at a higher level. REPATH, similar to REFSM, finds a series of input patterns which forces a logical FSM initialize with some reset state into a state specified by the user. Finally, REFSM 2 is introduced to utilizes linear time precomputation to improve the original REFSM.« less
  6. Due to the increasing complexity of hardware designs, third-party hardware Intellectual Property (IP) cores are often incorporated to alleviate the burden on hardware designers. However, the prevalent use of third-party IPs has raised security concerns such as hardware Trojans. These Trojans inserted in the soft IPs are very difficult to detect through functional testing and no single detection methodology has been able to completely address this issue. Based on a Register- Transfer Level (RTL) soft IP analysis method named Structural Checking, this paper presents a hardware Trojan detection methodology and tool by detailing the implementation of a Golden Reference Library for matching an unknown IP to a functionally similar Golden Reference. The matching result is quantified in percentages so that two different IPs with similar functions have a higher percentage match. A match of the unknown IP to a whitelist IP advances it to be identified with a known functionality, while a match to a blacklist IP causes it to be detected as Trojan-infested.