Winning the 'Race to the Bottom' by Changing the Rules: Inhibiting Malicious Hardware Activation through Attack Incompatibility

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Defense
Branch
Air Force
Amount:
$993,950.00
Award Year:
2012
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
FA8650-12-C-1383
Agency Tracking Number:
O2-1185
Solicitation Year:
2010
Solicitation Topic Code:
OSD10-IA1
Solicitation Number:
2010.2
Small Business Information
Galois, Inc.
421 SW Sixth, Suite 300, Portland, OR, -
Hubzone Owned:
N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
098009918
Principal Investigator:
Mark Tullsen
Principal Investigator
(503) 808-7159
tullsen@galois.com
Business Contact:
Jodee LeRoux
Contracts
(503) 808-7209
jodee@galois.com
Research Institution:
Stub




Abstract
Many hardware trojans depend on (a) the ability of an attacker to have an accurate model of the target system and of key software used on that system and (b) identification of one or more deterministic trigger conditions with low observability (i.e., conditions that evade detection by traditional scan- or ATPG-based testing methodologies but that can be exercised on demand via external stimuli). We call this class of trojans deterministic, externally-triggered (DET) trojans. This work introduces a class of software-based general purpose countermeasures to the DET class of trojans. We propose a tool by which the software engineer can transform the source code of system and application software to automatically obfuscate communication channels. The tool takes as input two things: (a) the source code of communicating software components, and (b) a specification of obfuscating transformations on the communications; from these the tool automatically generates the source code transformed with the obfuscations. The resulting system does not adhere to the behavioral model assumed when building the trojan. Thus an adversary's assault is rendered less effective via"attack incompatibility": trigger conditions have been altered such that the malicious behavior cannot be reliably instigated.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

Agency Micro-sites

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government