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Journal Article: “Locating Hardware Trojans Using Combinatorial Testing for Cryptographic Circuits” by MATRIS research group

Ludwig Kampel and Dimitris E. Simos from the MATRIS research group published an article for the IEEE Access Journal.

The rated A article was published on February 14, 2022.


Locating Hardware Trojans Using Combinatorial Testing for Cryptographic Circuits


Ludwig Kampel, Paris Kitsos, Dimitris E. Simos


IEEE Access, Volume 10


This paper presents a novel method for locating combinational hardware Trojans (HT) based on fault location approaches used in combinatorial testing. This method relies exclusively on the combinatorial properties of the executed test vectors and the results of test execution. Under specific assumptions, the method is guaranteed to locate all combinational HTs with trigger patterns of length ℓ or less, with the location process itself consuming negligible time. We give a description of our method by devising suitable algorithms and provide the links to combinatorial fault location. Furthermore, we demonstrate our approach in a concrete case study where we locate HTs embedded in a circuit that implements the AES symmetric-key encryption algorithm with 128 bits key length. In these experiments, we demonstrate how any HT that is activated by a trigger pattern of length ℓ≤8 can be located in an effective way. Our method compares particularly well against randomized approaches. Although instantiated for a specific circuit in our case study, the proposed approach is generic, due to its algorithmic description, and can be applied for testing other (cryptographic) circuits. We believe that our work presents an important first step in the development of more general logic testing methodologies for HT location using combinatorial testing methods.

This work was supported in part by the Bundesministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Energie, Mobilität, Innovation und Technologie (BMK); in part by the Bundesministerium für Digitalisierung und Wirtschaftsstandort (BMDW); in part by the Federal State of Vienna; in part by the European Union and Greek National Funds; and in part by the Regional Operational Program ‘‘Western Greece 2014–2020,’’ under the Call ‘‘Financial Strengthening Research Development and Innovation Projects in the Priority Area of RIS3-ICT’’ through the Project entitled Integrated Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-Based Active Living Support System ‘MeACT’ under Grant 5038641.


Locating Hardware Trojans Using Combinatorial Testing for Cryptographic Circuits | IEEE Journals & Magazine | IEEE Xplore

MATRIS (sba-research.org)