Mitigating SAT Attack on Logic Locking

  • Yang XieEmail author
  • Ankur Srivastava
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9813)


Logic locking is a technique that has been proposed to protect outsourced IC designs from piracy and counterfeiting by untrusted foundries. A locked IC preserves the correct functionality only when a correct key is provided. Recently, the security of logic locking is threatened by a new attack called SAT attack, which can decipher the correct key of most logic locking techniques within a few hours [12] even for a reasonably large number of keys. This attack iteratively solves SAT formulas which progressively eliminate the incorrect keys till the circuit unlocked. In this paper, we present a circuit block (referred to as Anti-SAT block) to thwart the SAT attack. We show that the number of SAT attack iterations to reveal the correct key in a circuit comprising an Anti-SAT block is an exponential function of the key-size thereby making the SAT attack computationally infeasible. Through our experiments, we illustrate the effectiveness of our approach to securing modern chips fabricated in untrusted foundries.


Logic locking SAT attack Hardware IP protection 



This work was supported by NSF under Grant No. 1223233 and AFOSR under Grant FA9550-14-1-0351.


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Copyright information

© International Association for Cryptologic Research 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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