Silencing Hardware Backdoors

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Executive Summary

Hardware components can contain hidden backdoors, which can be enabled with catastrophic effects or for ill-gotten profit. These backdoors can be inserted by a malicious insider on the design team or a third-party IP provider. In this paper, the authors propose techniques that allow them to build trustworthy hardware systems from components designed by untrusted designers or procured from untrusted third-party IP providers. They present the first solution for disabling digital, design-level hardware backdoors. The principle is that rather than try to discover the malicious logic in the design - an extremely hard problem - they make the backdoor design problem itself intractable to the attacker.

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