Seminar on Security of Embedded Electronic Systems

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Nele Mentens

Secure licensing of IP cores on FPGAs

Reinventing the wheel causes a loss of money in several types of business. Therefore it is trivial that companies try to avoid this. In the world of designing and selling electronic devices this is no different. When a company wants to make a new electronic chip, some components keep on recurring. An example of such a component is an interface to connect the new device to a network. Building these components takes a lot of time and is not an easy task because it often requires specific knowledge. Instead of building these components from scratch, a company can opt for acquiring an Intellectual Property (IP) core from a third party and integrate the core, together with other self-made or bought cores, into the chip. This talk addresses challenges related to the secure and efficient trade in softcore hardware IP cores (SHIPS), i.e. IP cores that are implemented on an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array), which is configurable chip.