Secure FPGA-based Design That Counters Threat To System Security

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Best-in-class security that blocks the theft of data, intellectual property and other private information from deployed systems

Mission-critical and other high-assurance systems deployed worldwide are under rapidly evolving threats from cybercriminals who attempt to extract Critical Program Information (CPI) via the FPGAs that power them. 

To prevent this, Microchip Technology has extended its FPGA family’s security with the DesignShield development tool that further helps prevent this information from being extracted for malicious purposes.

The DesignShield tool protects developers of aerospace, defence and other high-assurance systems from cybercriminals trying to acquire an FPGA’s bitstream from the fielded system. It deters reverse-engineering of the bitstream, which can often include CPI, by obscuring its logical equivalent using a combination of logic and routing-based encryption techniques. This improves design security and integrity while reducing system corruption risks. It also reduces the possibility of a custom code, intellectual property or information critical information of national security from being used by unauthorised agents.  

FPGA Security

Based on non-volatile flash memory, Microchip’s FPGAs offer inherently better security than SRAM-based alternatives that expose sensitive bitstream data on every power cycle. The FPGAs also include unique integrated security features that prevent overbuilding and cloning, protect design IP and provide a root of trust, secure data communications and anti-tamper capabilities. The company’s layered approach to security includes licensed, patented differential power analysis (DPA) protection, built-in certified security functions, built-in tamper detectors and supply chain assurance that signify the FPGA’s authenticity. DesignShield adds another layer that protects the authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of a design, thus removing any worries of a security breach.

“As a leader in the security space, Microchip offers a portfolio featuring the latest countermeasures for reducing the risk of cloning, intellectual property theft, reverse engineering, or the insertion of malicious Trojan Horses,” said Bruce Weyer, vice president of Microchip’s FPGA business unit. “Protecting CPI in deployed systems with our DesignShield tool is essential for national security and economic vibrancy. The tool advances the state of bitstream protection mechanisms and provides another defensive layer in ensuring that deployed systems behave as intended and are safe from counterfeiters and their threat to a developer’s design investments and brand reputation.”

The DesignShield tool is available under license as part of Microchip’s Early Access Program, which enables customers to begin designing with FPGA devices and design tools ahead of broader commercial availability. The DesignShield tool is part of Microchip’s Libero Development Tool Suite. 


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