An undetectable Hardware Trojan is reality

An undetectable Hardware Trojan is reality: A Team of researchers conducted a study on a stealthy Dopant-Level Hardware Trojans, an insidious menace that could have a dramatic impact on production processed of chips in every sector.

The team composed by researchers Georg T. Becker, Francesco Ragazzoni, Christof Paar and Wayne P. Burleson described in a paper how it is possible to conduct a hardware-based attack introducing in legitimate circuits a hardware trojan not detectable.

“In this paper we propose an extremely stealthy approach for implementing hardware Trojans below the gate level, and we evaluate their impact on the security of the target device. Instead of adding additional circuitry to the target design, we insert our hardware Trojans by changing the dopant polarity of existing transistors.” states the paper abstract.

The exploitation of a hardware backdoor for cyber espionage purpose has always been the subject of heated debate, intelligence experts have accused in the past Chinese companies to have the ability to remotely access to the communication equipments sold in the United States and Western Countries thanks this kind of attacks.