HAL — The Missing Piece of the Puzzle for Hardware Reverse Engineering, Trojan Detection and Insertion

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Authors Marc Fyrbiak, Sebastian Wallat, P. Swierczynski, Max Hoffmann, Sebastian Hoppach, Matthias Wilhelm, Tobias Weidlich, R. Tessier, C. Paar
Journal/Conference Name I
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Paper Abstract Hardware manipulations pose a serious threat to numerous systems, ranging from a myriad of smart-X devices to military systems. In many attack scenarios an adversary merely has access to the low-level, potentially obfuscated gate-level netlist. In general, the attacker possesses minimal information and faces the costly and time-consuming task of reverse engineering the design to identify security-critical circuitry, followed by the insertion of a meaningful hardware Trojan. These challenges have been considered only in passing by the research community. The contribution of this work is threefold First, we present HAL, a comprehensive reverse engineering and manipulation framework for gate-level netlists. HAL allows automating defensive design analysis (e.g., including arbitrary Trojan detection algorithms with minimal effort) as well as offensive reverse engineering and targeted logic insertion. Second, we present a novel static analysis Trojan detection technique ANGEL which considerably reduces the false-positive detection rate of the detection technique FANCI. Furthermore, we demonstrate that ANGEL is capable of automatically detecting Trojans obfuscated with DeTrust. Third, we demonstrate how a malicious party can semi-automatically inject hardware Trojans into third-party designs. We present reverse engineering algorithms to disarm and trick cryptographic self-tests, and subtly leak cryptographic keys without any a priori knowledge of the design's internal workings.
Date of publication 2019
Code Programming Language C++
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