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Shamsi, Kaveh, Li, Meng, Meade, Travis, Zhao, Zheng, Pan, David Z., Jin, Yier.  2017.  Circuit Obfuscation and Oracle-guided Attacks: Who Can Prevail? Proceedings of the on Great Lakes Symposium on VLSI 2017. :357–362.
This paper provides a systematization of knowledge in the domain of integrated circuit protection through obfuscation with a focus on the recent Boolean satisfiability (SAT) attacks. The study systematically combines real-world IC reverse engineering reports, experimental results using the most recent oracle-guided attacks, and concepts in machine-learning and cryptography to draw a map of the state-of-the-art of IC obfuscation and future challenges and opportunities.
Shamsi, Kaveh, Li, Meng, Pan, David Z., Jin, Yier.  2018.  Cross-Lock: Dense Layout-Level Interconnect Locking Using Cross-Bar Architectures. Proceedings of the 2018 on Great Lakes Symposium on VLSI. :147-152.

Logic locking is an attractive defense against a series of hardware security threats. However, oracle guided attacks based on advanced Boolean reasoning engines such as SAT, ATPG and model-checking have made it difficult to securely lock chips with low overhead. While the majority of existing locking schemes focus on gate-level locking, in this paper we present a layout-inclusive interconnect locking scheme based on cross-bars of metal-to-metal programmable-via devices. We demonstrate how this enables configuring a large obfuscation key with a small number of physical key wires contributing to zero to little substrate area overhead. Dense interconnect locking based on these circuit level primitives shows orders of magnitude better SAT attack resiliency compared to an XOR/XNOR gate-insertion locking with the same key length which has a much higher overhead.

Jin, Yier.  2014.  EDA Tools Trust Evaluation Through Security Property Proofs. Proceedings of the Conference on Design, Automation & Test in Europe. :247:1–247:4.

The security concerns of EDA tools have long been ignored because IC designers and integrators only focus on their functionality and performance. This lack of trusted EDA tools hampers hardware security researchers' efforts to design trusted integrated circuits. To address this concern, a novel EDA tools trust evaluation framework has been proposed to ensure the trustworthiness of EDA tools through its functional operation, rather than scrutinizing the software code. As a result, the newly proposed framework lowers the evaluation cost and is a better fit for hardware security researchers. To support the EDA tools evaluation framework, a new gate-level information assurance scheme is developed for security property checking on any gate-level netlist. Helped by the gate-level scheme, we expand the territory of proof-carrying based IP protection from RT-level designs to gate-level netlist, so that most of the commercially trading third-party IP cores are under the protection of proof-carrying based security properties. Using a sample AES encryption core, we successfully prove the trustworthiness of Synopsys Design Compiler in generating a synthesized netlist.

Bi, Yu, Hu, X. Sharon, Jin, Yier, Niemier, Michael, Shamsi, Kaveh, Yin, Xunzhao.  2016.  Enhancing Hardware Security with Emerging Transistor Technologies. Proceedings of the 26th Edition on Great Lakes Symposium on VLSI. :305–310.

We consider how the I-V characteristics of emerging transistors (particularly those sponsored by STARnet) might be employed to enhance hardware security. An emphasis of this work is to move beyond hardware implementations of physically unclonable functions (PUFs) and random num- ber generators (RNGs). We highlight how new devices (i) may enable more sophisticated logic obfuscation for IP protection, (ii) could help to prevent fault injection attacks, (iii) prevent differential power analysis in lightweight cryptographic systems, etc.

Shamsi, Kaveh, Pan, David Z., Jin, Yier.  2019.  On the Impossibility of Approximation-Resilient Circuit Locking. 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Hardware Oriented Security and Trust (HOST). :161–170.

Logic locking, and Integrated Circuit (IC) Camouflaging, are techniques that try to hide the design of an IC from a malicious foundry or end-user by introducing ambiguity into the netlist of the circuit. While over the past decade an array of such techniques have been proposed, their security has been constantly challenged by algorithmic attacks. This may in part be due to a lack of formally defined notions of security in the first place, and hence a lack of security guarantees based on long-standing hardness assumptions. In this paper we take a formal approach. We define the problem of circuit locking (cL) as transforming an original circuit to a locked one which is ``unintelligable'' without a secret key (this can model camouflaging and split-manufacturing in addition to logic locking). We define several notions of security for cL under different adversary models. Using long standing results from computational learning theory we show the impossibility of exponentially approximation-resilient locking in the presence of an oracle for large classes of Boolean circuits. We then show how exact-recovery-resiliency and a more relaxed notion of security that we coin ``best-possible'' approximation-resiliency can be provably guaranteed with polynomial overhead. Our theoretical analysis directly results in stronger attacks and defenses which we demonstrate through experimental results on benchmark circuits.

Shamsi, Kaveh, Li, Meng, Plaks, Kenneth, Fazzari, Saverio, Pan, David Z., Jin, Yier.  2019.  IP Protection and Supply Chain Security through Logic Obfuscation: A Systematic Overview. ACM Transactions on Design Automation of Electronic Systems (TODAES). 24:65:1-65:36.

The globalization of the semiconductor supply chain introduces ever-increasing security and privacy risks. Two major concerns are IP theft through reverse engineering and malicious modification of the design. The latter concern in part relies on successful reverse engineering of the design as well. IC camouflaging and logic locking are two of the techniques under research that can thwart reverse engineering by end-users or foundries. However, developing low overhead locking/camouflaging schemes that can resist the ever-evolving state-of-the-art attacks has been a challenge for several years. This article provides a comprehensive review of the state of the art with respect to locking/camouflaging techniques. We start by defining a systematic threat model for these techniques and discuss how various real-world scenarios relate to each threat model. We then discuss the evolution of generic algorithmic attacks under each threat model eventually leading to the strongest existing attacks. The article then systematizes defences and along the way discusses attacks that are more specific to certain kinds of locking/camouflaging. The article then concludes by discussing open problems and future directions.

Arias, Orlando, Sullivan, Dean, Shan, Haoqi, Jin, Yier.  2020.  LAHEL: Lightweight Attestation Hardening Embedded Devices using Macrocells. 2020 IEEE International Symposium on Hardware Oriented Security and Trust (HOST). :305—315.

In recent years, we have seen an advent in software attestation defenses targeting embedded systems which aim to detect tampering with a device's running program. With a persistent threat of an increasingly powerful attacker with physical access to the device, attestation approaches have become more rooted into the device's hardware with some approaches even changing the underlying microarchitecture. These drastic changes to the hardware make the proposed defenses hard to apply to new systems. In this paper, we present and evaluate LAHEL as the means to study the implementation and pitfalls of a hardware-based attestation mechanism. We limit LAHEL to utilize existing technologies without demanding any hardware changes. We implement LAHEL as a hardware IP core which interfaces with the CoreSight Debug Architecture available in modern ARM cores. We show how LAHEL can be integrated to system on chip designs allowing for microcontroller vendors to easily add our defense into their products. We present and test our prototype on a Zynq-7000 SoC, evaluating the security of LAHEL against powerful time-of-check-time-of-use (TOCTOU) attacks, while demonstrating improved performance over existing attestation schemes.

Park, Jungmin, Xu, Xiaolin, Jin, Yier, Forte, Domenic, Tehranipoor, Mark.  2018.  Power-Based Side-Channel Instruction-Level Disassembler. Proceedings of the 55th Annual Design Automation Conference. :119:1-119:6.
Modern embedded computing devices are vulnerable against malware and software piracy due to insufficient security scrutiny and the complications of continuous patching. To detect malicious activity as well as protecting the integrity of executable software, it is necessary to monitor the operation of such devices. In this paper, we propose a disassembler based on power-based side-channel to analyze the real-time operation of embedded systems at instruction-level granularity. The proposed disassembler obtains templates from an original device (e.g., IoT home security system, smart thermostat, etc.) and utilizes machine learning algorithms to uniquely identify instructions executed on the device. The feature selection using Kullback-Leibler (KL) divergence and the dimensional reduction using PCA in the time-frequency domain are proposed to increase the identification accuracy. Moreover, a hierarchical classification framework is proposed to reduce the computational complexity associated with large instruction sets. In addition, covariate shifts caused by different environmental measurements and device-to-device variations are minimized by our covariate shift adaptation technique. We implement this disassembler on an AVR 8-bit microcontroller. Experimental results demonstrate that our proposed disassembler can recognize test instructions including register names with a success rate no lower than 99.03% with quadratic discriminant analysis (QDA).
Li, Meng, Shamsi, Kaveh, Meade, Travis, Zhao, Zheng, Yu, Bei, Jin, Yier, Pan, David Z..  2016.  Provably Secure Camouflaging Strategy for IC Protection. Proceedings of the 35th International Conference on Computer-Aided Design. :28:1–28:8.

The advancing of reverse engineering techniques has complicated the efforts in intellectual property protection. Proactive methods have been developed recently, among which layout-level IC camouflaging is the leading example. However, existing camouflaging methods are rarely supported by provably secure criteria, which further leads to over-estimation of the security level when countering the latest de-camouflaging attacks, e.g., the SAT-based attack. In this paper, a quantitative security criterion is proposed for de-camouflaging complexity measurements and formally analyzed through the demonstration of the equivalence between the existing de-camouflaging strategy and the active learning scheme. Supported by the new security criterion, two novel camouflaging techniques are proposed, the low-overhead camouflaging cell library and the AND-tree structure, to help achieve exponentially increasing security levels at the cost of linearly increasing performance overhead on the circuit under protection. A provably secure camouflaging framework is then developed by combining these two techniques. Experimental results using the security criterion show that the camouflaged circuits with the proposed framework are of high resilience against the SAT-based attack with negligible performance overhead.

Guo, Xiaolong, Dutta, Raj Gautam, He, Jiaji, Tehranipoor, Mark M., Jin, Yier.  2019.  QIF-Verilog: Quantitative Information-Flow based Hardware Description Languages for Pre-Silicon Security Assessment. 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Hardware Oriented Security and Trust (HOST). :91—100.
Hardware vulnerabilities are often due to design mistakes because the designer does not sufficiently consider potential security vulnerabilities at the design stage. As a result, various security solutions have been developed to protect ICs, among which the language-based hardware security verification serves as a promising solution. The verification process will be performed while compiling the HDL of the design. However, similar to other formal verification methods, the language-based approach also suffers from scalability issue. Furthermore, existing solutions either lead to hardware overhead or are not designed for vulnerable or malicious logic detection. To alleviate these challenges, we propose a new language based framework, QIF-Verilog, to evaluate the trustworthiness of a hardware system at register transfer level (RTL). This framework introduces a quantified information flow (QIF) model and extends Verilog type systems to provide more expressiveness in presenting security rules; QIF is capable of checking the security rules given by the hardware designer. Secrets are labeled by the new type and then parsed to data flow, to which a QIF model will be applied. To demonstrate our approach, we design a compiler for QIF-Verilog and perform vulnerability analysis on benchmarks from Trust-Hub and OpenCore. We show that Trojans or design faults that leak information from circuit outputs can be detected automatically, and that our method evaluates the security of the design correctly.
Dutta, Raj Gautam, Yu, Feng, Zhang, Teng, Hu, Yaodan, Jin, Yier.  2018.  Security for Safety: A Path Toward Building Trusted Autonomous Vehicles. Proceedings of the International Conference on Computer-Aided Design. :92:1-92:6.

Automotive systems have always been designed with safety in mind. In this regard, the functional safety standard, ISO 26262, was drafted with the intention of minimizing risk due to random hardware faults or systematic failure in design of electrical and electronic components of an automobile. However, growing complexity of a modern car has added another potential point of failure in the form of cyber or sensor attacks. Recently, researchers have demonstrated that vulnerability in vehicle's software or sensing units could enable them to remotely alter the intended operation of the vehicle. As such, in addition to safety, security should be considered as an important design goal. However, designing security solutions without the consideration of safety objectives could result in potential hazards. Consequently, in this paper we propose the notion of security for safety and show that by integrating safety conditions with our system-level security solution, which comprises of a modified Kalman filter and a Chi-squared detector, we can prevent potential hazards that could occur due to violation of safety objectives during an attack. Furthermore, with the help of a car-following case study, where the follower car is equipped with an adaptive-cruise control unit, we show that our proposed system-level security solution preserves the safety constraints and prevent collision between vehicle while under sensor attack.

Guo, Xiaolong, Zhu, Huifeng, Jin, Yier, Zhang, Xuan.  2019.  When Capacitors Attack: Formal Method Driven Design and Detection of Charge-Domain Trojans. 2019 Design, Automation Test in Europe Conference Exhibition (DATE). :1727–1732.

The rapid growth and globalization of the integrated circuit (IC) industry put the threat of hardware Trojans (HTs) front and center among all security concerns in the IC supply chain. Current Trojan detection approaches always assume HTs are composed of digital circuits. However, recent demonstrations of analog attacks, such as A2 and Rowhammer, invalidate the digital assumption in previous HT detection or testing methods. At the system level, attackers can utilize the analog properties of the underlying circuits such as charge-sharing and capacitive coupling effects to create information leakage paths. These new capacitor-based vulnerabilities are rarely covered in digital testings. To address these stealthy yet harmful threats, we identify a large class of such capacitor-enabled attacks and define them as charge-domain Trojans. We are able to abstract the detailed charge-domain models for these Trojans and expose the circuit-level properties that critically contribute to their information leakage paths. Aided by the abstract models, an information flow tracking (IFT) based solution is developed to detect charge-domain leakage paths and then identify the charge-domain Trojans/vulnerabilities. Our proposed method is validated on an experimental RISC microcontroller design injected with different variants of charge-domain Trojans. We demonstrate that successful detection can be accomplished with an automatic tool which realizes the IFT-based solution.