FPGA Security: New Frontiers

Speaker:  Swarup Bhunia – Gainesville, FL, United States
Topic(s):  Architecture, Embedded Systems and Electronics, Robotics


Reconfigurable hardware platforms, e.g. Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are being increasingly deployed in diverse applications including the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) edge devices, biomedical, and automotive systems, due to their flexibility and superior energy efficiency compared to traditional software implementations. These powerful computing platforms – used stand-alone or embedded – can provide enabling security solutions for modern systems. At the same time, emerging application space for FPGA increasingly exposes them to many attacks in the field, including bitstream piracy, reverse engineering, side-channel attacks, and tampering. Growing demands of remote field programming of FPGA devices during the life-time of the computing system significantly enhance these vulnerabilities. Existing protection mechanisms that predominantly rely on bitstream encryption suffer from several major deficiencies, e.g. high resource overhead, vulnerability of key leakage during remote upgrade, and side-channel attacks. In this talk, first we will describe various security issues in FPGA and then propose effective countermeasures. We will discuss a promising solution for FPGA bitstream security. The solution relies on the concept of architectural diversity that prevents an attacker from using knowledge about one device to mount attack on another. The approach enables secure remote upgrade and integrates well into the existing FPGA tool flow. Efficient implementation of the solution by leveraging on unused configurable logic resources in FPGA (which we refer to as “FPGA dark silicon”) will be discussed. We will also describe a novel application of embedded FPGA for efficient field-upgradable implementation of diverse security policies in system on chips. We will cover the application mapping algorithms and software to accomplish the proposed protection mechanisms.

About this Lecture

Number of Slides:  48
Duration:  60 minutes
Languages Available:  English
Last Updated: 

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