Seldom do companies write complete articles to answer my Blogs. This week, Actel did. Last week I asked, "Given Actel's announcement this week (Actel Turns Security up a Notch) of secure in-system programmability based on 128-bit AES encryption, it made me just a bit curious as to where are programmable device security breaches to date?" In an article posted today, (How to Protect Intellectual Property in FPGAs Devices--Part 1, the magnitude of the problem is explained, and it is truly mind boggling.
Just a couple of the statistics, "Pirated goods account for 9% of all worldwide trade," and, "186 different counterfeit ICs are available," tells me the problem is huge. It used to be that pretty much all sensitive IP was tucked safely within an ASIC. Today, it's programmed in an FPGA and anyone who can read that FPGA has access to virtually the whole system.
When markets are moving rapidly and the immediate challenge is getting product out the door, it's so easy to not pay sufficient attention to trends that are also moving at breakneck speed. Ignoring this one may cost way too much.