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Detecting Trojans in an Integrated Circuit (IC) is an important but hard problem. A Trojan is malicious hardware - it can be extremely small in size and dormant until triggered by some unknown circuit state. To allow wake-up, a Trojan could draw a minimal amount of power, for example, to run a clock or a state machine, or to monitor a triggering event. The authors introduce DISTROY (Discover Trojan), a new approach that can efficiently and reliably detect extremely small background power leakage that a Trojan creates and as a result, they can detect the Trojan. They formulate their method based on compressive sensing, a recent advance in signal processing, which can recover a signal using the number of measurements approximately proportional to its sparsity rather than size.
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