Managing Security in FPGA-Based Embedded Systems

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Executive Summary

FPGAs combine the programmability of processors with the performance of custom hardware. As they become more common in critical embedded systems, new techniques are necessary to manage security in FPGA designs. This paper discusses FPGA security problems and current research on reconfigurable devices and security, and presents security primitives and component architecture for building highly secure systems on FPGAs. Because FPGAs can provide a useful balance between performance, rapid time to market, and flexibility, they have become the primary source of computation in many critical embedded systems. The aerospace industry, for example, relies on FPGAs to control everything from the Joint Strike Fighter to the Mars Rover.

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