International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Xiaolin Xu


CAS-Lock: A Security-Corruptibility Trade-off Resilient Logic Locking Scheme 📺
Logic locking has recently been proposed as a solution for protecting gatelevel semiconductor intellectual property (IP). However, numerous attacks have been mounted on this technique, which either compromise the locking key or restore the original circuit functionality. SAT attacks leverage golden IC information to rule out all incorrect key classes, while bypass and removal attacks exploit the limited output corruptibility and/or structural traces of SAT-resistant locking schemes. In this paper, we propose a new lightweight locking technique: CAS-Lock (cascaded locking) which nullifies both SAT and bypass attacks, while simultaneously maintaining nontrivial output corruptibility. This property of CAS-Lock is in stark contrast to the well-accepted notion that there is an inherent trade-off between output corruptibility and SAT resistance. We theoretically and experimentally validate the SAT resistance of CAS-Lock, and show that it reduces the attack to brute-force, regardless of its construction. Further, we evaluate its resistance to recently proposed approximate SAT attacks (i.e., AppSAT). We also propose a modified version of CAS-Lock (mirrored CAS-Lock or M-CAS) to protect against removal attacks. M-CAS allows a trade-off evaluation between removal attack and SAT attack resiliency, while incurring minimal area overhead. We also show how M-CAS parameters such as the implemented Boolean function and selected key can be tuned by the designer so that a desired level of protection against all known attacks can be achieved.
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.