WordRev: Finding Word-Level Structures in a Sea of Bit-Level Gates


Li, W., Gascon, A., Subramanyan, P., Tan, W. Y., Tiwari, A., Malik, S., Seshia, S. A. (2013, 2-3 June). WordRev: Finding word-level structures in a sea of bit-level gates. Paper presented at the IEEE International Symposium on Hardware-Oriented Security and Trust (HOST’13), Austin, TX.


Systems are increasingly being constructed from off-the-shelf components acquired through a globally distributed and untrusted supply chain. Often only post-synthesis gate-level netlists or actual silicons are available for security inspection. This makes reasoning about hardware trojans particularly challenging given the enormous scale of the problem. Currently, there is no mature methodology that can provide visibility into a bit-level design in terms of high-level components to allow more comprehensive analysis. In this paper, we present a systemic way of automatically deriving word-level structures from the gate-level netlist of a digital circuit. Our framework also provides the possibility for a user to specify sequences of word-level operations and it can extract the collection of gates corresponding to those operations. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach on a system-on-a-chip (SoC) design consisting of approximately 400,000 IBM 12SOI cells and several open-source designs.

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