RESCUE: Resilient, Scalable, High-Corruption, Compact-Key-Set Locking Framework

Nimisha Limaye, Ozgur Sinanoglu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Logic locking has gained traction for protecting the intellectual property (IP) of integrated circuits (ICs) from untrusted foundries, test facilities, and end users. A working chip or an oracle is a significant resource for an attacker to retrieve the secret locking key. Recently, a radically different logic locking shield (DisORC) was proposed to safeguard an IC against oracle-guided attacks such as satisfiability (SAT)-based attacks which rely on scan access. This scheme was shown to be resilient on larger circuits with large sequential depths; however, it fails to protect smaller circuits, such as specialized controllers, even for large key sizes as attacks can succeed even without scan access. A truly random logic locking (TRLL) technique was proposed to thwart learning-based attacks, by making random decisions on absorbing inverters in the design into key-gates. However, small design blocks may not contain enough inverters to replace, and thereby when locked with TRLL, they may not resist learning-based attacks. Further, for large key sizes, high corruption schemes, such as TRLL, produce multiple correct keys, simplifying the key recovery for an attacker. In this work, we propose a scalable, learning-resilient, high-corruption technique to protect even small design blocks from all known oracle-less and oracle-guided attacks all the while returning only a few correct keys. Our technique 1) randomly generates enough inversions in the design to provably thwart learning-based attacks; 2) strategically inserts key-gates to return only a few correct keys and obtain high output corruption; and 3) heuristically selects key-gate locations to improve resilience against sequential SAT-based attacks. We regress our technique on 14 representative ISCAS-89 and ITC-99 benchmarks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2826-2838
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023


  • High output corruption
  • large-scale locking
  • learning-resilient
  • logic locking
  • sequential satisfiability (SAT)-based attacks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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