Design tool for FPGA security

June 03, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
Design tool for FPGA security
Microchip Technology has launched a development tool to protect the security of its non-volatile FPGA devices.

The DesignShield tool from Microchip is aimed at aerospace, military and highly sensitive designs to protect the Critical Program Information (CPI) in the bitstream that is used to programme FPGAs.

The tool deters reverse-engineering of the bitstream by obscuring its logical equivalent using a combination of logic and routing-based encryption techniques. This improves design security and integrity while reducing system corruption risks, and reduces the possibility that custom code, intellectual property, or information critical to national security is used by non-authorized agents. 

“Microchip offers a portfolio featuring the latest countermeasures for reducing the risk of cloning, intellectual property theft, reverse engineering, or the insertion of malicious Trojan Horses,” said Bruce Weyer, vice president of Microchip’s FPGA business unit which came from the acquisition of Microsemi/Actel and Atmel.

These FPGAs are based on non-volatile flash memory and so do not risk exposing sensitive bitstream data on every power cycle. Microchip FPGAs also include unique integrated security features that prevent overbuilding and cloning, protect design IP, and provide a root of trust, secure data communications and anti-tamper capabilities. The security includes licensed, patented differential power analysis (DPA) protection, built-in certified security functions, built-in tamper detectors, and supply chain assurance that the FPGA is authentic. 

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“Protecting CPI in deployed systems with our DesignShield tool is essential for national security and economic vibrancy. The tool advances the state of bitstream protection mechanisms and provides another defensive layer in ensuring that deployed systems behave as intended and are safe from counterfeiters and their threat to a developer’s design investments and brand reputation,” said Weyer.

The DesignShield tool is available under license as part of Microchip’s Early Access Program, which enables customers to begin designing with FPGA devices and design tools ahead of broader commercial availability. The DesignShield tool is part of Microchip’s Libero Development Tool Suite.

www.microchip.com

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