Active Control and Digital Rights Management of Integrated Circuit IP Cores

TitleActive Control and Digital Rights Management of Integrated Circuit IP Cores
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsAlkabani, Y., and F. Koushanfar
Conference NameCompilers, Architectures, and Synthesis for Embedded Systems (CASES)
Date Published2008

We introduce the first approach that can actively control multiple hardware intellectual property (IP) cores used in an integrated circuit (IC). The IP rights owner(s) can remotely monitor, control, enable, or disable each individual IP on each chip. The approach introduces a paradigm shift in the microelectronic business model, nurturing smaller businesses, and supporting the design-reuse paradigm. The IPs can be controlled by the original designer or by the designers who reuse them. Each IP has a built-in functional lock that pertains to the unique unclonable ID of the chip. A control structure that coordinates the locking and unlocking of the IPs is embedded within the IC. We introduce a trusted third party approach for issuing certificates of authenticity, in case it is required for the applications. We present methods for safeguarding the approach against two attack sources: the foundry (fab), and the reuser. Experimental results show that our approach can be implemented with low area, power, and delay overheads making it suitable for embedded systems. The introduced control method is also low overhead in terms of the added steps to the current design and manufacturing flow.

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