CHEST color logo
CHEST University logos image of a line

CHEST 2020 Research Project Abstracts

P12_20: Current Sensing based On-chip Analog Trojan Detection Circuit Compatible with Chip Design and Validation Flow
Topic Areas:
Principal investigator: Dr. Aatmesh Shrivastava, Northeastern University
Co-Principal investigator(s): Dr. Yunsi Fei, Northeastern University
PI Email

This project proposes an on-chip method to detect analog Trojan circuits deployed by an attacker to enable privileges otherwise not possible through software. Due to there smaller size, delayed trigger, and no dependence on digital signals, analog Trojans are more stealthy and extremely difficult to detect using conventional Trojan detection circuits. In this project, we propose a new analog Trojan detection circuit using a current sensing technique. The proposed circuit technique utilizes the unique power signature of analog Trojan which shows a sustained increase before trigger. To sense the current, a power switch is inserted to the sensitive digital block. The current sensor senses the current to generate an early trigger signal to flag the presence of analog Trojan on the chip. This is otherwise not possible as analog Trojans are designed for delayed deployment. The current sensor output can be made available to further analyze correlation with the toggling frequency for accurate detection. The proposed circuit will have a lower area overhead for the digital core as it only uses a power gate, which are already used for power management. The Trojan sensor circuit can be on-chip or can be used as an off-chip tester during chip validation. The proposed early detection of Trojan can enable highly desirable validation-time identification to prevent its deployment in the field. For validation, we will carry out the chip-design of the proposed Trojan detection circuit, with an example sensitive digital IP along with an analog Trojan.