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Vulnerability Assessment of Controller Designs

  • Farimah Farahmandi
  • Yuanwen Huang
  • Prabhat Mishra
Chapter

Abstract

Finite state machines (FSMs) control the functionality of System-on-Chip (SoC) designs. The security and trustworthiness of SoCs can be compromised by exploring the vulnerabilities of their FSMs. Any deviation from the specification of FSMs can endanger the security and trustworthiness of SoCs. This is a critical concern when an FSM is responsible for controlling the usage or propagation of protected information (e.g., secret keys) in a secure component. FSM vulnerabilities may be introduced by a rogue designer or an attacker who inserts hardware Trojans in the FSM implementation. Traditional FSM design flows as well as CAD tools may create unintentional security vulnerabilities in FSM designs (e.g., when a synthesis tool is trying to optimize a gate-level netlist). These vulnerabilities can also be introduced unintentionally by a CAD tool. In this chapter, we present an efficient formal analysis framework based on symbolic algebra to find FSM vulnerabilities. The proposed method tries to find inconsistencies between the specification and FSM implementation through manipulation of respective polynomials. Security properties (such as a safe transition to a protected state) are derived using specification polynomials and verified against implementation polynomials. In case of a failure, the vulnerability is reported. While existing methods can verify legal transitions, the proposed approach tries to solve the important and non-trivial problem of detecting illegal accesses to the design states (e.g., protected states).

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Farimah Farahmandi
    • 1
  • Yuanwen Huang
    • 2
  • Prabhat Mishra
    • 1
  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.GoogleMountain ViewUSA

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