Leti, a research institute of CEA Tech has developed a shield that can help protect electronic devices against physical attacks from the chips’ backside. Physical attacks may occur when hackers have access to the device and can exploit weaknesses of the embedded IC to steal sensitive information or to corrupt its functioning. The shield proposed by Leti protects chips from invasive and semi-invasive attacks by infrared lasers, focused ion beams (FIB), chemicals and other means. The shield consists of a metal serpentine sandwiched between two polymers, one being opaque to infrared and serving as a physical barrier against FIB attacks. It also hides the design of the chips’ serpentine and combines with the polymer underneath to detect chemical attacks. Altering the serpentine typically triggers the IC to delete sensitive data. The shield is fabricated using standard packaging processes, which demonstrates that hardware cybersecurity can be implemented at low additional cost.
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