Hardware trust and security challenge: finding trojans

March 05, 2020 //By Julien Happich
Hardware trust
More than 40 organizations across 5G, AI, IoT, and automotive took part in OneSpin’s hardware trust and security challenge, held to highlight real-world problems of trust vulnerabilities in hardware designs and illuminate ways to avoid them.

Competitors entered from organizations such as Xilinx, Intel, Fotonation, NXP, Nokia, AMD, Sensirion, and the OpenHW Group. Nithin Kumar Guggilla of Xilinx, Tero Kuusijärvi of Nokia, and Wayne Yun of AMD found the Trojans in two RTL designs sourced from TrustHub and contributed their ideas and opinions, they won Bose SoundSport wireless headphones.


Hardware trust and security dilemma

The nature of today’s complex electronics makes them extremely vulnerable to unintended or malicious attacks. A hardware Trojan is engineered to cause major damage in response to a trigger known by the attacker. It could expose “secure” data, cause serious product malfunction, or even destroy a chip. Modern, highly configurable hardware provides a favourable hiding place for backdoors, time bombs, performance degradation or kill switches. And the threat of Trojans being inserted into third-party IPs or during pre-silicon design implementation steps is of increasing concern to the hardware community. Everything from connected autonomous vehicles, medical devices, smartphones, defence and aerospace systems, nuclear power plants, 5G networks, IoT devices, and cloud computing are at risk.

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