[ZISC Lunch Seminar] Hardware Security in a Post-Snowden World

Thu 11May2017

Prof Christof Paar, Ruhr University Bochum

From 12.00 until 13.30

At CNB/F/110 (Lunch) + CNB/F/100.9 (Seminar), ETH Zurich

Universitätstrasse 6, 8092 Zurich


Countless systems ranging from consumer electronics to military equipment are dependent on integrated circuits (ICs). A surprisingly large number of such systems are already security-critical, e.g., automotive electronics, medical devices, or SCADA systems. If the underlying ICs in such applications are maliciously manipulated through hardware Trojans, the security of the entire system can be compromised. Given that the IoT and Cyber Physical System rely per definition in ICs, malicious hardware will become a more crucial issue in the years to come.

Hardware Trojans have drawn the attention of the scientific community and government in recent years. Initially, the primary attacker model was a malicious foundry that could alter the design, i.e., introduce malicious alterations which could interfere with the functionality of a chip. Many other attacker models exist too. For instance, a legitimate IC manufacturer, such as a consumer electronics company, might be in cohort with a national intelligence agency and could alter its products in a way that compromises their security.

Even though hardware Trojans have been studied for a decade or so in the literature, little is known about how they might look, especially those that are particularly designed to avoid detection. In this talk we introduce several low-level manipulation attacks against embedded system, targeting two popular types of hardware platforms, ASICs and FPGAs.

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