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Securing Chips from the Ground Up

By Sergio Marchese, Electronic Design

Pre-silicon validation and verification of hardware security requirements are crucial, which pushes the need for more robust, efficient design flows.

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Advanced electronic systems for connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) and other safety- and security-critical applications use complex software stacks. At the bottom of the stack are integrated circuits (ICs) that include general-purpose and workload-optimized processing engines, and other semiconductor intellectual properties (IPs). However, hardware vulnerabilities may compromise the entire system.

Ensuring that ICs, both ASICs and FPGAs, have high integrity requires adequate hardware-development flows that deliver evidence of functional correctness (the IC satisfies its intended mission requirements), safety (the IC can prevent or control failures that could occur during operation due to physical effects), and trust and security (the IC doesn’t include unexpected or malicious additional functions that could be exploited in cyberattacks). Integrity properties aren’t an afterthought. All IC and IP development stages, including pre-silicon validation and verification, need adequate tools and methods to achieve high integrity. The safety and privacy of people is at stake.


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