Interview Florian Pebay-Peyroula: We have to do more to fight against counterfeit circuits

Categorie(s) : Innovation & Society, Interviews, News, Research

Published : 6 October 2014

Florian Pebay-Peyroula, head of Leti’s Communicating Objects and Systems Security Lab:

« “We have to do more to fight against counterfeit circuits” »

Leti was involved in the ENIAC TOISE (Trusted Computing for European Embedded Systems) project, which was completed in April 2014. What was the outcome?
The project involved seventeen partners from industry and academia. We performed several high-quality demonstrations on sensor networks, smart meters, hard-drive encryption, and responses to protect systems under attack. Projects like this one give manufacturers a valuable opportunity to boost the security of their products during the development phase.

What specifically did Leti focus on?
Physical unclonable functions, or “PUFs,” which are one possible way to fight against counterfeit circuits. For example, the market is seeing an increase in two types of clones: those that offer more limited features than the original circuit, and “perfect” clones that are exact replicas of the original, manufactured by dishonest subcontractors. Our idea is to pair the circuit that needs protecting with a simpler circuit, which we would characterize to identify tiny variations in certain physical properties. Foundries that use PUFs give their circuits a unique identifier that is impossible to reproduce.

Who is winning the security R&D race, manufacturers or hackers?

The hackers are definitely leading the dance. Manufacturers are following with countermeasures that mainly slow hackers down or make the cost of hacking prohibitively high. However, knowledge of your adversary is the beast weapon in any fight. Leti—like other labs—has developed excellent hacking skills, which we use only for research, of course!





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