Protection of IPs
Hardware Trojans are a real threat, all the more rampant that they are extremely tough to detect. Secure-IC's philosophy in the field of traps insertion during the manufacturing steps is different. We proactively deceive prospective attacks by a special design splitting. The goal is to subcontract the fabrication of each half design to two unrelated foundries. The first design is so split that the functionality it achieves is untractable unless knowing the second half. Now, the second technological steps involve coarser lithography processes, that are entrusted to a mastered silicon founder. The preprocessing of the design to make it ready for its partitioning in two independent halves is conducted carefully, notably without impeding the overall performance.
The traceability of integrated circuits (IC) has been made possible since the advent of the Physically Unclonable Functions (PUF). Such a structure is designed exactly the same for all ICs of a series, but behaves differently in each IC after fabrication. Thus, devices can be attested unique and the behavior of their PUF can be stored in a "white-list" catalog: ICs that are not listed there have been produced illegally from the original masks or obtained by reverse-engineering. Secure-IC designs the "loop-PUF", which relies on identical delay lines assembled in a loop to create a ring oscillator. The frequency of several similar loop configurations, obtained by permutation of delay elements, is compared. The estimated frequency discrepancy allows to uniquely characterize one device. It is relatively easy to design in ASIC or FPGA and can be used either to generate challenge response pairs (CRP) for authentication or intrinsic device keys for ciphering algorithms. Though it could be slower than other silicon PUF, it provides a great flexibility and can offer robustness against attacks by means of specific countermeasures.