Security and Privacy in Communication Networks. 11th International Conference, SecureComm 2015, Dallas, TX, USA, October 26-29, 2015, Revised Selected Papers

Research Article

Remote Activation of Hardware Trojans via a Covert Temperature Channel

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  • @INPROCEEDINGS{10.1007/978-3-319-28865-9_16,
        author={Priyabrat Dash and Chris Perkins and Ryan Gerdes},
        title={Remote Activation of Hardware Trojans via a Covert Temperature Channel},
        proceedings={Security and Privacy in Communication Networks. 11th International Conference, SecureComm 2015, Dallas, TX, USA, October 26-29, 2015, Revised Selected Papers},
        proceedings_a={SECURECOMM},
        year={2016},
        month={2},
        keywords={Hardware Trojan Remote activation Covert channel Detection},
        doi={10.1007/978-3-319-28865-9_16}
    }
    
  • Priyabrat Dash
    Chris Perkins
    Ryan Gerdes
    Year: 2016
    Remote Activation of Hardware Trojans via a Covert Temperature Channel
    SECURECOMM
    Springer
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-28865-9_16
Priyabrat Dash1,*, Chris Perkins1,*, Ryan Gerdes1,*
  • 1: Utah State University
*Contact email: priyabrat.dash@aggiemail.usu.edu, perkinsck@gmail.com, ryan.gerdes@usu.edu

Abstract

A hardware trojan (HT) is produced through the malicious tampering of an integrated circuit design. Depending on its placement and purpose, an HT may cause data leakage or corruption, computational errors, reduced system performance, and temporary or permanent denial-of-service through the disabling or destruction of the chip. The varied geographic locales involved in designing, fabricating, and testing a design allow an attacker ample opportunity to insert an HT. In this paper we propose a method to enable the remote activation of HT, via a covert temperature channel, across a network. Through experimentation, our activation method is shown to be feasible on modern computers. In addition, its design is tolerant of process variation to ensure that it can be reliably fabricated. The design was validated using industry standard STMicroelectronics 65 nm technology and shown to be undetectable against present detection techniques. We discuss the major challenges associated with such HT and future research needs to address them.