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Securing Trustworthy & Resilient Chips

NSF and SRC team to make chips counterfeit- and hack-free
9/23/2014 11:05 AM EDT
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R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: 'Million Brokers' Problem
R_Colin_Johnson   10/12/2014 6:13:24 PM
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Yes couterfeit chips are not necessarily malicious--sometime just outdated and being passed off as new--but reprogrammable chips is a big hurdle to surmount. However, SRC believes it is possible without adding too much overhead and the researdhers already have explored dozens of techniques for doing it. Now its a question of which will really work!

DrQuine
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Re: 'Million Brokers' Problem
DrQuine   10/12/2014 8:51:21 AM
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I see two very different issues that must be addressed: A/ detecting counterfeit chips and B/ preventing existing chips from being hacked and altered. Both of these issues are more difficult to address when chips are intentionally designed to be reprogrammed (upgraded). Hardwired chips can be subjected to tests to see whether they conform to the intended design and internal data. Reprogrammable chips are more difficult to test for authenticity (and a valid / suitable software load).

R_Colin_Johnson
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Re: 'Million Brokers' Problem
R_Colin_Johnson   9/25/2014 12:06:23 PM
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Yes, the traceability and chain-of-custody issue was discussed in my interview, but I believe this particular effort is focused more on making the chip designs more bullet proof.

JamesRyanKenny
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'Million Brokers' Problem
JamesRyanKenny   9/25/2014 8:53:17 AM
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We need to search for counterfeits and Trojans today because we frankly don't know where our semiconductors are coming from. This is a result of the large number of brokers, distributors, and sometimes byzantine manufacturing steps in modern semiconductors.

Research like this is needed to be sure, but we should always be mindful of where money is best spent: in hardware based research (things like fault injection, of course, address different security problems altogether), or in adding traceability and chain-of-custody tracking and verification in our supply chains.

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