Researchers from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) have shown that spintronics-based protective “logic locks” could be incorporated into the integrated circuits of electronic chips to defend chip security. This means that next-gen electronics could feature enhanced security systems built directly into their circuitry to help fend off malicious attacks.
“The need for hardware-based security features reflects the globalized nature of modern electronics manufacture,” explains Yehia Massoud from KAUST. Electronics companies usually employ large specialized, external foundries to produce their chips, which minimizes costs but introduces potential vulnerabilities to the supply chain. The circuit design could simply be illegally copied by an untrusted foundry for counterfeit chip production or could be maliciously modified by the incorporation of “hardware Trojans” into the circuitry that detrimentally affects its behavior in some way.