Description: Exploitable flaws and vulnerabilities are often discussed in the context of software. Hardware carries similar risks, but its ramifications could be quite significant. The threat landscape is moving from software stack to lower levels. The rapid growth of accessible devices, fueled by the pervasive mobile technologies and an aggressive drive for digital innovation, is driving the development and adoption of a multitude of intricate chip designs. Ubiquitous deployment of the devices provides opportunities for adversarial actors, both non-state and state, to shift their attention to chips and circuitry. As the supply chain of the devices are globally spread, they are getting more interdependent. The scale at which these products and components are being manufactured is unprecedented. Increasing complexity of the devices and lack of corresponding assurance mechanism creates a trust deficit about them. Suspicion of hardware systems is on the rise due to backdoors, counterfeit integrated circuits, design flaws, insecure implementation of protocols, programming errors, stealing of IPs through reverse engineering, and hardware Trojans. Due to the absence of a credible assurance framework, procurement of hardware devices, products, and components are met with a lack of confidence. In the operating cycle as well, the worries around their security strength, insecure behavior, activation of Trojan, denial of service, and possibilities of stealing IPR are unaddressed.
Background/ Context: The demand for semiconductors is rising multifold not only due to the growth of IT systems but also due to the advent of mobile, IoT, autonomous electric vehicles, robotics, wearables, AR/VR, industrialization 4.0, and rise of data-centric products and services. Demand for electronics products in India would reach USD 400 billion during 2017-2020. Although the domestic chip design market is growing in the country, dependency on imported chips and hardware is rising year-by-year. The sectors, such as defense and critical information infrastructure, are grappling with challenges of supply chain security. The well-being of consumer electronics segments, possibilities with IoT, the realization of health-tech innovation, the future of autonomous vehicles, and prospects of industrialization 4.0 can get hampered if hardware security challenges are not addressed. There has to more focus on hardware security features and architecture. Ideas such as binary testing, optical analysis, electromagnetic signature analysis, real-estate assessment, cryptographic testing, and tamper detection, low-level analysis, side-channel security testing, and protocol implementation testing have evolved but are still not enough to address all the challenges. Hence it is essential to build security testing solutions that can help carry out binary testing, optical analysis, electromagnetic signature analysis, real-estate assessment, cryptographic testing, and tamper detection, low-level analysis, side-channel security testing, protocol implementation testing, and chip reverse engineering. In the operating cycle, it would be useful to have hardware fingerprinting capability. Time has come to focus on identifying hardware-level anomalies and malicious behavior. Usage of ML/AI would thus enhance hardware security quite significantly from profiling hardware systems and their behavior. Continuous extraction of knowledge throwing light on parameters such as bandwidth usage trends and energy consumption help ascertaining safety/acceptability levels. It would help obtain visualization of security and performance. Moreover, it would help trigger and alert mechanisms and remediation workflows. In the operating cycle, these capabilities would not only enhance user confidence and trust but also help strengthen manageability of hardware security.
Possible Target: Any of the following, combination of them, but not limited to:
Industry Use Cases: