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[liberationtech] How to defend against attacks on chips?

Andy Isaacson adi at
Mon Jun 17 08:16:54 PDT 2013

On Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 10:09:00AM -0400, Richard Brooks wrote:
[re looking for hardware trojans]
> You can't defend against this. There is a lot of research
> going into detecting hardware trojans. In general, verifying
> that either hardware or software is (or is not) malicious
> in undecidable. We are even lacking in tools, short of exhaustive
> tests, for verifying that either hardware or software matches
> their specs.

It's true that in the limit, we can never be sure that a given piece of
hardware contains no trojans.  However, there are many ways that a
trojan could be implemented which could be found with available
techniques.  It would be extremely enlightening to find one such and
publicize it.

So while I agree with your statement that we can never be completely
sure, nevertheless building tools and trying them out is a valuable
field of study.


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