Insights into the mind of a trojan designer: the challenge to integrate a trojan into the bitstream

Maik Ender, Pawel Swierczynski, Sebastian Wallat, Matthias Wilhelm, Paul Knopp, Chris­tof Paar

In Proceedings of the 24th Asia and South Pacific Design Automation Conference (ASPDAC '19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 112-119.


The threat of inserting hardware Trojans during the design, production, or in-field poses a danger for integrated circuits in real-world applications. A particular critical case of hardware Trojans is the malicious manipulation of third-party FPGA configurations. In addition to attack vectors during the design process, FPGAs can be infiltrated in a non-invasive manner after shipment through alterations of the bitstream. First, we present an improved methodology for bitstream file format reversing. Second, we introduce a novel idea for Trojan insertion.

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tags: 2019, ASP-DAC