Expert Column

Secuing the IC Supply Chain – Integrating PUF-Based hardware security

By: Albert Jeng and Jeff Shuo

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The semiconductor supply chain is vulnerable to hacks that threaten valuable intellectual property and the operation of electronic devices that we depend on. This article outlines how a combination of Physical Unclonable Function (PUF) + blockchain + smart contract technology can help safeguard the industry.

Semiconductors are vulnerable to non-invasive attacks such as side-channel analysis, Hardware Trojans and invasive/semi-invasive attacks that enable tampering and reverse engineering. However, nowadays, chip supply chain integrity is in the headlines because products from untrusted sources pose far-reaching and expensive security risks.

Bad chips may be counterfeited, modified, recycled or re-marked for reasons that include fraud and industrial espionage. Electronics made with counterfeit chips endanger critical applications for avionics, transportation systems, industrial control, IoT, 5G and defense.

Moreover, these compromised chips cause financial losses and reputational damage for manufacturers caught in a bad supply chain.

PUF “Fingerprints”

Chip IDs can help screen out counterfeit devices before assembly and during failure analysis [1]…

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