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Digitally-Assisted Mixed-Signal Circuit Security

Abstract : The design and manufacturing steps of a chip typically involve several parties. For example, a chip may comprise several third-party Intellectual Property (IP) cores and the Integrated Circuit (IC) fabrication may be outsourced to a third-party foundry. IP cores and ICs are shared with potentially untrusted third parties and, as a result, are subject to piracy attacks. Even more, any legally purchased chip may be reverse-engineered to retrieve the design down to transistorlevel and, thereby, it is also subject to piracy attacks. In this paper, we propose MixLock, an anti-piracy countermeasure for mixed-signal IP cores and ICs. MixLock protection is based on inserting a lock mechanism into the design such that correct functionality is established only after applying a key which is the designer's secret. The lock mechanism acts on the mixedsignal performances by leveraging logic locking of the digital part. MixLock presents several key attributes. It is generally applicable, it is non-intrusive to the sensitive analog section, it incurs no performance penalty and has very low area and power overheads, it is fully automated, and it is capable of co-optimizing security in both the analog and digital domains. We demonstrate MixLock on a Σ∆ Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) using hardware measurements and an audio demonstrator.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, September 7, 2021 - 3:53:18 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 17, 2022 - 9:40:01 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 7:58:26 PM


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Julian Leonhard, Nimisha Limaye, Shadi Turk, Alhassan Sayed, Alán Rodrigo Díaz-Rizo, et al.. Digitally-Assisted Mixed-Signal Circuit Security. IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, 2022, 41 (8), pp.2449-2462. ⟨10.1109/TCAD.2021.3111550⟩. ⟨hal-03337109⟩



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