Paper 2019/975

Ci-Lock: Cipher Induced Logic Locking Resistant Against SAT Attacks

Akashdeep Saha, Sayandeep Saha, Debdeep Mukhopadhyay, and Bhargab Bikram Bhattacharya


Protection of intellectual property (IP) cores is one of the most practical security concern for modern integrated circuit (IC) industry. Albeit being well-studied from a practical perspective, the problem of safeguarding gate-level netlists from IP-theft is still an open issue. State-of-the-art netlist protection schemes, popularly known as logic locking, are mostly ad-hoc and their security claims are based on experimental evidences and the power of heuristics used for security evaluation. Observing this fact, in this paper we propose a novel logic locking approach, for which the security claims are based on the hardness of well-studied cryptographic primitives. More precisely, for the first time we show that the mapping realized by a circuit netlist (or at least a part of it) can be hidden inside a block cipher by setting a proper secret key. Moreover, this hiding scheme can be realized in a systematic manner with fairly simple heuristics. We claim that extracting the actual mapping is equivalent to a key recovery attack on the cipher, which is believed to be hard for standard block ciphers. The proposed scheme also attains SAT attack resistance directly from the block ciphers which are known to be SAT-hard, in general. Experimental evaluation on ISCAS-85 benchmarks establishes that even for small circuits like C17 (having 6 gates), the proposed approach can successfully throttle SAT-attacks. Further, we argue that the hiding a circuit inside a block cipher is interesting by its own from a theoretical perspective, and may have several useful applications in the domain of security.

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Publication info
Preprint. Minor revision.
Logic lockingBlock cipherHardware obfuscation
Contact author(s)
akashdeepsaha95 @ gmail com
sayandeep iitkgp @ gmail com
debdeep @ iitkgp ac in
bhargab bhatta @ gmail com
2019-12-07: withdrawn
2019-08-29: received
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