Logic Locking of Finite-State Machines Using Transition Obfuscation

Shahzad Muzaffar, Ibrahim Abe M. Elfadel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

In this paper, we introduce a novel algorithm for securing sequential circuits at the Register-Transfer Level (RTL) that does not require any state augmentation. The algorithm is based on the encryption of the state encodings with a key that is known only to the IP provider. When the correct key is input at runtime, the sequential circuit will operate as designed, otherwise it will operate according to a state transition map that is defined by the wrong key. We call this mode of operation: transition obfuscation. One important advantage of the proposed method is that using the wrong key does not necessarily result in the sequential circuit getting stuck at any one state or getting trapped within any black hole. As a result, the secured sequential circuit is more immune to reverse engineering attacks, and because of the large number of wrong full-state transition maps, more immune to side-channel attacks. A full low-complexity, RTL design methodology based on the new algorithm is presented along with extensive experiments quantifying its design overhead and illustrating its advantages in terms of immunity to reverse engineering attacks.

Original languageBritish English
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2022 IFIP/IEEE 30th International Conference on Very Large Scale Integration, VLSI-SoC 2022
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
ISBN (Electronic)9781665490054
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022
Event30th IFIP/IEEE International Conference on Very Large Scale Integration, VLSI-SoC 2022 - Patras, Greece
Duration: 3 Oct 20225 Oct 2022

Publication series

NameIEEE/IFIP International Conference on VLSI and System-on-Chip, VLSI-SoC
Volume2022-October
ISSN (Print)2324-8432
ISSN (Electronic)2324-8440

Conference

Conference30th IFIP/IEEE International Conference on Very Large Scale Integration, VLSI-SoC 2022
Country/TerritoryGreece
CityPatras
Period3/10/225/10/22

Keywords

  • Behavioral-level logic locking
  • Finite-state machines
  • Hardware security
  • Secure automata
  • Sequential circuits

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