A Golden-Free Approach to Detect Trojans in COTS Multi-PCB Systems

Animesh Basak Chowdhury, Anushree Mahapatra, Yang Liu, Prashanth Krishnamurthy, Farshad Khorrami, Ramesh Karri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Untrusted third parties in commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) printed circuit board (PCB) supply chains may poison PCBs with hardware, firmware, and software implants. Hence, we focus on detection of malicious implants in PCBs. State-of-the-art hardware Trojan detection methods require a golden PCB system/model to detect malicious implants and do not scale to large-scale COTS PCB systems. We map a COTS PCB system to a graph and propose a golden-free methodology comprising a graph-based mathematical construction on node and edge equivalences, and clustering of identical nodes and paths and validation of hypothesized statistical properties on measured sidechannel data. We evaluate the methodology on a multi-PCB testbed with hierarchically networked PCB devices and several types of Trojans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-76
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Micro
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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