EPIC: Ending Piracy of Integrated Circuits

TitleEPIC: Ending Piracy of Integrated Circuits
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsRoy, J., F. Koushanfar, and I. Markov
Conference NameDesign Automation and Test in Europe (DATE)
Date Published2008

As semiconductor manufacturing requires greater capital investments, the use of contract foundries has grown dramatically, increasing exposure to mask theft and unauthorized excess production. While only recently studied, IC piracy has now become a major challenge for the electronics and defense industries. We propose a novel comprehensive technique to end piracy of integrated circuits (EPIC). It requires that every chip be activated with an external key, which can only be generated by the holder of IP rights, and cannot be duplicated. EPIC is based on (i) automatically-generated chip IDs, (ii) a novel combinational locking algorithm, and (Hi) innovative use of public-key cryptography. Our evaluation suggests that the overhead of EPIC on circuit delay and power is negligible, and the standard flows for verification and test do not require change. In fact, major required components have already been integrated into several chips in production. We also use formal methods to evaluate combinational locking and computational attacks. A comprehensive protocol analysis concludes that EPIC is surprisingly resistant to various piracy attempts.

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