Paper 2019/061

SigAttack: New High-level SAT-based Attack on Logic Encryptions

Yuanqi Shen, You Li, Shuyu Kong, Amin Rezaei, and Hai Zhou


Logic encryption is a powerful hardware protection technique that uses extra key inputs to lock a circuit from piracy or unauthorized use. The recent discovery of the SAT-based attack with Distinguishing Input Pattern (DIP) generation has rendered all traditional logic encryptions vulnerable, and thus the creation of new encryption methods. However, a critical question for any new encryption method is whether security against the DIP-generation attack means security against all other attacks. In this paper, a new high-level SAT-based attack called SigAttack has been discovered and thoroughly investigated. It is based on extracting a key-revealing signature in the encryption. A majority of all known SAT-resilient encryptions are shown to be vulnerable to SigAttack. By formulating the condition under which SigAttack is effective, the paper also provides guidance for the future logic encryption design.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Preprint. Minor revision.
logic encryptionattackSAT
Contact author(s)
haizhou @ northwestern edu
2019-01-25: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Yuanqi Shen and You Li and Shuyu Kong and Amin Rezaei and Hai Zhou},
      title = {SigAttack: New High-level SAT-based Attack on Logic Encryptions},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2019/061},
      year = {2019},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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