Detecting Hardware Trojans using backside optical imaging of embedded watermarks

Boyou Zhou, Ronen Adato, Mahmoud Zangeneh, Tianyu Yang, Aydan Uyar, Bennett Goldberg, Selim Unlu, Ajay Joshi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

18 Scopus citations


Hardware Trojans are a critical security threat to integrated circuits. We propose an optical method to detect and localize Trojans inserted during the chIP fabrication stage. We engineer the fill cells in a standard cell library to be highly reflective at near-IR wavelengths so that they can be readily observed in an optical image taken through the backside of the chIP. The pattern produced by their locations produces an easily measured watermark of the circuit layout. Replacement, modification or re-arrangement of these cells to add a Trojan can therefore be detected through rapid post-fabrication backside imaging. We evaluate our approach using various hardware blocks where the Trojan circuit area is less than 0.1% of the total area and it consumes less than 2% leakage power of the entire chIP. In addition, we evaluate the tolerance of our methodology to background measurement noise and process variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2015 52nd ACM/EDAC/IEEE Design Automation Conference, DAC 2015
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781450335201
StatePublished - Jul 24 2015
Event52nd ACM/EDAC/IEEE Design Automation Conference, DAC 2015 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Jun 8 2015Jun 12 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings - Design Automation Conference
ISSN (Print)0738-100X


Other52nd ACM/EDAC/IEEE Design Automation Conference, DAC 2015
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation

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