Hardware security has recently taken the center stage even in informative articles for the public and other media, after being relegated to the scientific literature for various years. The concerning implications of attacks to confidential user data have recently made HW security an important differentiator in commercial chips, and is fueling a vigorous and global research effort to make chips more secure.
HW security is now being demanded in energy-constrained integrated systems (e.g., sensor nodes, wearables, biomedical), in view of their pervasiveness and connectivity. This has spurred the requirement of low-overhead low-energy solutions that allow security to be rooted in hardware, as opposed to more traditional and expensive techniques that can be amortized in highly-complex Systems on a Chip (e.g., cutting-edge microprocessors). This poses a new set of challenges that need a fundamental rethinking of silicon solutions for security, from the root of trust to security assurance across the entire chain of trust.
In this tutorial, the principles and the available state-of-the-art techniques for hardware security are discussed from the perspective of energy-constrained systems. The fundamentals are systematically exemplified with cutting-edge circuit and architectural approaches, including silicon demonstrations from industry and academia (including our group’s work). A framework to link up applications to circuit requirements is introduced, providing an insight into how to achieve such requirements. Techniques to create on-chip security primitives for root/chain of trust are discussed, from static (e.g., PUFs) to dynamic entropy generation (e.g., TRNGs), lightweight ciphers and hashing. Then, techniques and innovative approaches to protect chips against hardware and physical attacks are reviewed, and exemplified with experimental results. Emphasis is given on low-cost techniques for security down to low-end devices, for pervasive adoption.
At the end of the tutorial, the attendees will have a solid understanding of the basic principles of hardware security, its state of the art, and what challenges lie beyond the current frontier.