Session
Fahrplan - Hauptprogramm 36C3
Hardware & Making

Understanding millions of gates

Introduction to IC reverse engineering for non-chip-reverse-engineers.
Reverse Engineering of integrated circuits is often seen as something only companies can do, as the equipment to image the chip is expensive, and the HR costs to hire enough reverse engineers to then understand the chip even more so. This talk gives a short introduction on the motivation behind understanding your own or someone else’s chip (as a chip manufacturing company), and why it might be important for the rest of us (not a chip manufacturing company). The focus is on understanding what millions of logical gates represent, rather than the physical aspect (delayering, imaging, image processing…), because everyone can do this at home. I will introduce some proposed countermeasures (like logic encryption) and explain if, how and why they fail.

The talk will give a general overview of the research field and explain why companies are interested in reverse engineering ICs (IP overproduction, Counterfeits, Hardware Trojans), as well as why it’s important for an end user (IC trust, chip failure). Then, I will very shortly introduce the reverse engineering workflow, from decapsulating, delayering, imaging, stitching, image processing and then come to the focus: netlist abstraction. The idea is to show some methods which are currently used in research to understand what netlists represent. Some theory will be explained (circuit design, formal verification of circuits, graph theory…), but I want to keep this to a minimum. Finally, I will show some current ideas on how to make reverse engineering difficult, as well as some attacks on these ideas. The talk does not give insights into how large companies do reverse engineering (i.e. throw money at the problem), but rather show the research side of things, with some of the methods published in the last couple of years, which is something everyone can do at home.

Additional information

Type lecture
Language English

More sessions

12/27/19
Hardware & Making
Clarke
While open source is necessary for trustable hardware, it is far from sufficient. This is because “hashing” hardware – verifying its construction down to the transistor level – is typically a destructive process, so trust in hardware is a massive time-of-check/time-of-use (TOCTOU) problem. This talk helps us understand the nature of the TOCTOU problem by providing a brief overview of the supply chain security problem and various classes of hardware implants. We then shift gears to talk ...
12/27/19
Hardware & Making
Matt Evans
Dijkstra
This talk will cover everything about the Acorn Archimedes, a British computer first released in 1987 and (slightly) famous for being the genesis of the original ARM processor.
12/27/19
Hardware & Making
Sebastian Staacks
Eliza
Modern smartphones offer a whole range of sensors like magnetometers, accelerometers or gyroscopes. The open source app "phyphox", developed at the RWTH Aachen University, repurposes these sensors as measuring instruments in physics education.
12/27/19
Hardware & Making
chipforge
Eliza
(en) We make Standard Cells for LibreSilicon available, which are open source and feasible. And we like to talk and demonstrate what we are doing. (de) Wir machen Standardzellen für LibreSilicon verfügbar, welche Open Source und nutzbar sind. Wir möchten darüber sprechen und vorführen, was wir tun.
12/27/19
Hardware & Making
Phil
Dijkstra
Es soll grundlegend erklärt werden, nach welchen Kriterien Medizinprodukte entwickelt werden. Dazu werden die wichtigsten Regularien (Gesetze, Normen, ...) vorgestellt die von den Medizinprodukteherstellern eingehalten werden müssen. Diese regeln, was die Hersteller umsetzen müssen (und was nicht). Hier wird auch die Frage beantwortet, warum beispielsweise die Apple-Watch (oder genauer gesagt nur zwei Apps) ein Medizinprodukt sind aber die card10 nicht.
12/27/19
Hardware & Making
LaForge
Ada
Billions of subscribers use SIM cards in their phones. Yet, outside a relatively small circle, information about SIM card technology is not widely known. This talk aims to be an in-depth technical overview.
12/28/19
Hardware & Making
Clarke
There's a variety of places - on Earth and beyond - that pose challenging conditions to the ever-shrinking digital circuits of today. Making those tiny transistors work reliably when bombarded with charged particles in the vacuum of space, in the underground tunnels of CERN or in your local hospital's X-ray machine is not an easy feat. This talk is going to shed some light on what can be done to keep particles from messing up your ones and zeroes, how errors in digital circuits can be detected ...