HOST: HLS Obfuscations against SMT ATtack

Chandan Karfa, Tm Abdul Khader, Yom Nigam, Ramanuj Chouksey, Ramesh Karri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The fab-less IC design industry is at risk of IC counterfeiting and Intellectual Property (IP) theft by untrusted third party foundries. Logic obfuscation thwarts IP theft by locking gate-level netlists using a locking key. The complexity of circuit designs and migration to high level synthesis (HLS) expands the scope of locking to a higher abstraction. Automated RTL locking during HLS integrates obfuscation into the backend HLS tool. This is tedious and requires access to the HLS tool source code. Furthermore, recent work proposed an SMT attack on HLS-based obfuscation. In this work, we propose sn RTL locking tool HOST, to thwart the SMT attack. The HOST approach is agnostic to the HLS tool. Results show that HOST obfuscations have low overhead and thwart SMT attacks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2021 Design, Automation and Test in Europe, DATE 2021
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9783981926354
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021
Event2021 Design, Automation and Test in Europe Conference and Exhibition, DATE 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Feb 1 2021Feb 5 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings -Design, Automation and Test in Europe, DATE
ISSN (Print)1530-1591


Conference2021 Design, Automation and Test in Europe Conference and Exhibition, DATE 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • High Level Synthesis
  • Logic Locking
  • RTL Locking
  • Register Transfer Level

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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