Threshold-dependent camouflaged cells to secure circuits against reverse engineering attacks

Maria I.Mera Collantes, Mohamed El Massad, Siddharth Garg

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

Abstract

With current tools and technology, someone who has physical access to a chip can extract the detailed layout of the integrated circuit (IC). By using advanced visual imaging techniques, reverse engineering can reveal details that are meant to be kept secret, such as a secure protocol or novel implementation that offers a competitive advantage. A promising solution to defend against reverse engineering attacks is IC camouflaging. In this work, we propose a new camouflaging technique based on the threshold voltage of the transistors. We refer to these cells as threshold dependent camouflaged cells. Our work differs from current commercial solutions in that the latter use look-alike cells, with the assumption that it is difficult for the reverse engineer to identify the cell's functionality. Yet, if a structural distinction between cells exists, then these are still vulnerable, especially as reverse engineers use more advanced and precise techniques. On the other hand, the proposed threshold dependent standard cells are structurally identical regardless of the cells' functionality. Detailed circuit simulations of our proposed threshold dependent camouflaged cells demonstrate that they can be used to cost-effectively and robustly camouflage large netlists. Corner analysis of process, temperature, and supply voltage (PVT) variations show that our cells operate as expected over all PVT corners simulated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - IEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI, ISVLSI 2016
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Pages443-448
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781467390385
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2 2016
Event15th IEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI, ISVLSI 2016 - Pittsburgh, United States
Duration: Jul 11 2016Jul 13 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of IEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI, ISVLSI
Volume2016-September
ISSN (Print)2159-3469
ISSN (Electronic)2159-3477

Other

Other15th IEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI, ISVLSI 2016
CountryUnited States
CityPittsburgh
Period7/11/167/13/16

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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  • Cite this

    Collantes, M. I. M., El Massad, M., & Garg, S. (2016). Threshold-dependent camouflaged cells to secure circuits against reverse engineering attacks. In Proceedings - IEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI, ISVLSI 2016 (pp. 443-448). [7560238] (Proceedings of IEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI, ISVLSI; Vol. 2016-September). IEEE Computer Society. https://doi.org/10.1109/ISVLSI.2016.89