International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Julian Speith


HAWKEYE – Recovering Symmetric Cryptography From Hardware Circuits
We present the first comprehensive approach for detecting and analyzing symmetric cryptographic primitives in gate-level descriptions of hardware. To capture both ASICs and FPGAs, we model the hardware as a directed graph, where gates become nodes and wires become edges. For modern chips, those graphs can easily consist of hundreds of thousands of nodes. More abstractly, we find subgraphs corresponding to cryptographic primitives in a potentially huge graph, the sea-of-gates, describing an entire chip. As we are particularly interested in unknown cryptographic algorithms, we cannot rely on searching for known parts such as S-boxes or round constants. Instead, we are looking for parts of the chip that perform highly local computations. A major result of our work is that many symmetric algorithms can be reliably located and sometimes even identified by our approach, which we call HAWKEYE. Our findings are verified by extensive experimental results, which involve SPN, ARX, Feistel, and LFSR-based ciphers implemented for both FPGAs and ASICs. We demonstrate the real-world applicability of HAWKEYE by evaluating it on OpenTitan's Earl Grey chip, an open-source secure micro-controller design. HAWKEYE locates all major cryptographic primitives present in the netlist comprising 424341 gates in 44.3 seconds.
LifeLine for FPGA Protection: Obfuscated Cryptography for Real-World Security 📺
Over the last decade attacks have repetitively demonstrated that bitstream protection for SRAM-based FPGAs is a persistent problem without a satisfying solution in practice. Hence, real-world hardware designs are prone to intellectual property infringement and malicious manipulation as they are not adequately protected against reverse-engineering.In this work, we first review state-of-the-art solutions from industry and academia and demonstrate their ineffectiveness with respect to reverse-engineering and design manipulation. We then describe the design and implementation of novel hardware obfuscation primitives based on the intrinsic structure of FPGAs. Based on our primitives, we design and implement LifeLine, a hardware design protection mechanism for FPGAs using hardware/software co-obfuscated cryptography. We show that LifeLine offers effective protection for a real-world adversary model, requires minimal integration effort for hardware designers, and retrofits to already deployed (and so far vulnerable) systems.