Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2021/1277

LifeLine for FPGA Protection: Obfuscated Cryptography for Real-World Security

Florian Stolz and Nils Albartus and Julian Speith and Simon Klix and Clemens Nasenberg and Aiden Gula and Marc Fyrbiak and Christof Paar and Tim Güneysu and Russell Tessier

Abstract: Over the last decade attacks have repetitively demonstrated that bitstream protection for SRAM-based FPGAs is a persistent problem without a satisfying solution in practice. Hence, real-world hardware designs are prone to intellectual property infringement and malicious manipulation as they are not adequately protected against reverse-engineering.

In this work, we first review state-of-the-art solutions from industry and academia and demonstrate their ineffectiveness with respect to reverse-engineering and design manipulation. We then describe the design and implementation of novel hardware obfuscation primitives based on the intrinsic structure of FPGAs. Based on our primitives, we design and implement LifeLine, a hardware design protection mechanism for FPGAs using hardware/software co-obfuscated cryptography. We show that LifeLine offers effective protection for a real-world adversary model, requires minimal integration effort for hardware designers, and retrofits to already deployed (and so far vulnerable) systems.

Category / Keywords: applications / FPGA Security, Hardware Obfuscation, Software Obfuscation, Reverse Engineering

Original Publication (in the same form): IACR-CHES-2021
DOI:
10.46586/tches.v2021.i4.412-446

Date: received 23 Sep 2021

Contact author: nils albartus at rub de

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20210924:175029 (All versions of this report)

Short URL: ia.cr/2021/1277


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