TimingSAT: Decamouflaging timing-based logic obfuscation


In order to counter advanced reverse engineering techniques, various integrated circuit (IC) camouflaging methods are proposed to protect hardware intellectual property (IP) proactively. For example, a timing-based camouflaging strategy is developed recently representing a new class of parametric camouflaging strategies. Unlike traditional IC camouflaging techniques that directly hide the circuit functionality, the new parametric strategies obfuscate the circuit timing schemes, which in turn protects the circuit functionality and invalidates all the existing attacks. In this paper, we propose a SAT attack, named TimingSAT, to analyze the security of such timing-based camouflaging strategies. We demonstrate that with a proper transformation of the camouflaged netlist, traditional SAT attacks are still effective to decamouflage the new protection methods. The correctness of the resolved circuit functionality is formally proved. While a direct implementation of TimingSAT suffers from poor scalability, we propose a simplification procedure to significantly enhance the attack efficiency without sacrificing the correctness of the decamouflaged netlist. The efficiency and effectiveness of TimingSAT is validated with extensive experimental results.

In IEEE International Test Conference (ITC)
Meng Li
Meng Li
Staff Research Scientist

I am currently a staff research scientist and tech lead in the Meta On-Device AI team with a focus on researching and productizing efficient AI algorithms and hardwares for next generation AR/VR devices. I received my Ph.D. degree in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Texas at Austin under the supervision of Prof. David Z. Pan and my bachelor degree in Peking University under the supervision of Prof. Ru Huang and Prof. Runsheng Wang. My research interests include efficient and secure AI algorithms and systems.

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