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Circumventing a ring oscillator approach to FPGA-based hardware Trojan detection

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7 Author(s)
Justin Rilling ; Electrical and Computer Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, USA ; David Graziano ; Jamin Hitchcock ; Tim Meyer
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Ring oscillators are commonly used as a locking mechanism that binds a hardware design to a specific area of silicon within an integrated circuit (IC). This locking mechanism can be used to detect malicious modifications to the hardware design, also known as a hardware Trojan, in situations where such modifications result in a change to the physical placement of the design on the IC. However, careful consideration is needed when designing ring oscillators for such a scenario to guarantee the integrity of the locking mechanism. This paper presents a case study in which flaws discovered in a ring oscillator-based Trojan detection scheme allowed for the circumvention of the security mechanism and the implementation of a large and diverse set of hardware Trojans, limited only by hardware resources.

Published in:

Computer Design (ICCD), 2011 IEEE 29th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

9-12 Oct. 2011