International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Bicky Shakya


Covert Gates: Protecting Integrated Circuits with Undetectable Camouflaging
Integrated circuit (IC) camouflaging has emerged as a promising solution for protecting semiconductor intellectual property (IP) against reverse engineering. Existing methods of camouflaging are based on standard cells that can assume one of many Boolean functions, either through variation of transistor threshold voltage or contact configurations. Unfortunately, such methods lead to high area, delay and power overheads, and are vulnerable to invasive as well as non-invasive attacks based on Boolean satisfiability/VLSI testing. In this paper, we propose, fabricate, and demonstrate a new cell camouflaging strategy, termed as ‘covert gate’ that leverages doping and dummy contacts to create camouflaged cells that are indistinguishable from regular standard cells under modern imaging techniques. We perform a comprehensive security analysis of covert gate, and show that it achieves high resiliency against SAT and test-based attacks at very low overheads. We also derive models to characterize the covert cells, and develop measures to incorporate them into a gate-level design. Simulation results of overheads and attacks are presented on benchmark circuits.
Novel Bypass Attack and BDD-based Tradeoff Analysis Against All Known Logic Locking Attacks
Logic locking has emerged as a promising technique for protecting gate-level semiconductor intellectual property. However, recent work has shown that such gate-level locking techniques are vulnerable to Boolean satisfiability (SAT) attacks. In order to thwart such attacks, several SAT-resistant logic locking techniques have been proposed, which minimize the discriminating ability of input patterns to rule out incorrect keys. In this work, we show that such SAT-resistant logic locking techniques have their own set of unique vulnerabilities. In particular, we propose a novel “bypass attack” that ensures the locked circuit works even when an incorrect key is applied. Such a technique makes it possible for an adversary to be oblivious to the type of SAT-resistant protection applied on the circuit, and still be able to restore the circuit to its correct functionality. We show that such a bypass attack is feasible on a wide range of benchmarks and SAT-resistant techniques, while incurring minimal run-time and area/delay overhead. Binary decision diagrams (BDDs) are utilized to analyze the proposed bypass attack and assess tradeoffs in security vs overhead of various countermeasures.