A survey of algorithmic methods in IC reverse engineering


Conference / Medium


Julian Speith Ran Ginosar Avi Mendelson Christof Paar Nils Albartus Leonid Azriel

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RC 4: Platform Trojans


The discipline of reverse engineering integrated circuits (ICs) is as old as the technology itself. It grew out of the need to analyze competitor’s products and detect possible IP infringements. In recent years, the growing hardware Trojan threat motivated a fresh research interest in the topic. The process of IC reverse engineering comprises two steps: netlist extraction and specification discovery. While the process of netlist extraction is rather well understood and established techniques exist throughout the industry, specification discovery still presents researchers with a plurality of open questions. It therefore remains of particular interest to the scientific community. In this paper, we present a survey of the state of the art in IC reverse engineering while focusing on the specification discovery phase. Furthermore, we list noteworthy existing works on methods and algorithms in the area and discuss open challenges as well as unanswered questions. Therefore, we observe that the state of research on algorithmic methods for specification discovery suffers from the lack of a uniform evaluation approach. We point out the urgent need to develop common research infrastructure, benchmarks, and evaluation metrics.


Hardware Trojans
Hardware Reverse Engineering