Enthentica fights counterfeiting in semiconductor industry

National Security and Criticial Infrastructure : Major victims of counterfeiting

Considering the loopholes and flaws in security of software implementation of algorithms, Companies who build critical infrastructure systems and military devices relies heavily on hardware implementations. In addition to security reasons, this also helps them to accelerate their engines through parallelization. In that context, genuinity of the hardware where applications are executed, becomes extremely critical.  An Integrated Circuit or a development board comes across multiple horizontals in a supply chain before it gets delivered to the final customer. Contract manufactures and OEMs take shortcut to meet their price goals. To meet the constraints of immediate availability at minimal cost, companies unknowingly or knowingly drop-in counterfeited chips in hardware.

Existing Anti-Counterfeiting Measures and Introduction to Enthentica PUF

Though an extensive number of steps like laser marking, unique serial numbers and unique barcodes are being taken by industry to combat the counterfeits, the issue continues to harm the semiconductor industry. Recent assessments have proved that atleast 1 % of the products in the semiconductor global market are fake. This creates significant implications for nation’s security.  While this seems to be a very hard problem to tackle, Enthentica finds an untapped potential in the PUF technology to solve the problem of counterfeiting in semiconductors.


Combat the Counterfeiting using Silicon DNA

The manufacturing process variation of an integrated circuit is analogous to the fingerprint or biological DNA of a human being. Multiple factors that contribute to the uniqueness of a silicon include path delay variation, threshold voltage variation of transistors and more. These variations make every billion chips in the market unique. Extracting the delays of path caused by these manufacturing variations forms the source of uniqueness for Enthentica PUF: HELP – Hardware Embedded Delay PUF.

How Enthentica HELP tackle counterfeiting

Enthentica HELP is an intellectual property that is designed to extract the manufacturing variations of a silicon to produce unique 1s and 0s for that chip. The highly sophisticated algorithm of HELP considers the temperature and voltage variations of the environment and ensures the same response for that chip during its lifetime. The response produced by a chip using Enthentica HELP is neither clonable nor reproducible by a different chip.

The Proposed Model

Tracking down a chip, right from fabrication unit, all the way to last-mile customer is 100 % possible with the integration of Enthentica HELP IP in it. Providing a feature for the chip manufacturer to enroll the responses of the HELP right after the chip fabrication and providing an API for customers to verify the authenticity of the chip by checking with manufacture’s database is a promising model to avoid counterfeits. Enthentica is very excited to work with pioneers and enthusiasts in hardware security domain to make the global semiconductor market counterfeit-free.