NYU scientists develop tool to check for chip sabotage

Researchers develop method to check for hidden vulnerabilities in processor designs.
Researchers develop method to check for hidden vulnerabilities in processor designs.

New York University's Tandon School of Engineering scientists designed a new form of application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) that can spot vulnerabilities placed in microchips.

Since building hardware is often outsourced by manufacturers, it's possible for threat actors placed along the supply chain to slip hidden architecture into a firm's product, according to an Aug. 23 press release.

The researchers' solution uses a chip with both an embedded module that proves that the chip's calculations are correct and an external module that validates the first module's proofs to ensure that a chip hasn't been sabotaged.

“The nice thing about our solution is that I don't have to trust the chip because every time I give it a new input, it produces the output and the proofs of correctness, and the external module lets me continuously validate those proofs,” NYU Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Siddharth Garg said in the release.

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