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Enforcing Integrated Circuit Trust Via Unified Multi-Level Countermeasures

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8650-12-M-1329
Agency Tracking Number: F112-151-0532
Amount: $148,884.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF112-151
Solicitation Number: 2011.2
Solicitation Year: 2011
Award Year: 2012
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2011-10-20
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
128 E Pine Avenue
Meridian, ID -
United States
DUNS: 800427838
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Jack Meador
 Principal Engineer
 (208) 884-2138
Business Contact
 Rick Hoover
Title: Prinicpal
Phone: (208) 884-2138
Research Institution

ABSTRACT: This project will investigate the feasibility of an integrated multilevel system for protecting space assets from system hardware and firmware exploitation. The overall strategy is to provide greater collective system protection as a whole than would otherwise be available from the sum of the independent defenses. Rather than relying on a loose-knit collection of isolated point solutions that independently address specific hardware and firmware attack vectors, this project will investigate a coherent joint solution where multiple countermeasures work together to better protect an embedded system. The approach is to integrate co-operative firmware execution monitoring, interface mediation, logic configuration monitoring and electrical parameter measurement. The proposed work includes the adaptation of established and developing technologies as well as the development of a covert communication mechanism that facilitates defensive cooperation among the participating countermeasures. BENEFIT: This approach will better facilitate the use of lower cost off shore COTS devices in space-based embedded systems by increasing confidence that all levels of the firmware and hardware design are exploit-free. By detecting pre-deployment exploits it will reduce the cost of re-establishing a pristine design. It will also significantly reduce the cost of post-deployment exploit amelioration. Although this project specifically addresses space-based embedded system applications, there are a broad range of terrestrial commercial applications to which it could also be applied. Any critical terrestrial application of embedded and deeply embedded systems, for example, SCADA and Internet communication systems could also benefit from the results of this work.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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