Hardware Design Obfuscation

The untrusted parties in the global supply chain may tamper with the original design and/or introduce malicious components known as hardware Trojans. As the measurable changes (e.g., delay, power, area, and temperature) introduced by hardware Trojans become relatively small compared with the overall system-under-attack characteristics, side-channel analysis based Trojan detection lose their efficacy. Moreover, the lack of a golden reference model makes Trojan detection difficult. To tackle these emerging challenges, we propose to obfuscate the hardware design at multiple abstraction levels.

Obfuscation is a process to make a target of interest “obscure”, difficult to identify, or unclear. Obfuscation techniques are common in the software world, but its application to hardware security is quite recent. My research team has successfully developed design obfuscation techniques on circuit, gate, and on-chip communication network levels.  Our work indicates that hardware obfuscation methods are truly promising to protect hardware from Trojan insertion at different abstract levels.


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