Creation and detection of hardware trojans using non-invasive off-the-shelf technologies

Rooney, Catherine and Seeam, Amar and Bellekens, Xavier (2018) Creation and detection of hardware trojans using non-invasive off-the-shelf technologies. Electronics, 7 (7). 124. ISSN 2079-9292 (

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As a result of the globalisation of the semiconductor design and fabrication processes, integrated circuits are becoming increasingly vulnerable to malicious attacks. The most concerning threats are hardware trojans. A hardware trojan is a malicious inclusion or alteration to the existing design of an integrated circuit, with the possible effects ranging from leakage of sensitive information to the complete destruction of the integrated circuit itself. While the majority of existing detection schemes focus on test-time, they all require expensive methodologies to detect hardware trojans. Off-the-shelf approaches have often been overlooked due to limited hardware resources and detection accuracy. With the advances in technologies and the democratisation of open-source hardware, however, these tools enable the detection of hardware trojans at reduced costs during or after production. In this manuscript, a hardware trojan is created and emulated on a consumer FPGA board. The experiments to detect the trojan in a dormant and active state are made using off-the-shelf technologies taking advantage of different techniques such as Power Analysis Reports, Side Channel Analysis and Thermal Measurements. Furthermore, multiple attempts to detect the trojan are demonstrated and benchmarked. Our simulations result in a state-of-the-art methodology to accurately detect the trojan in both dormant and active states using off-the-shelf hardware.