Siddharth Garg, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and fellow researchers are working on a unique solution, which can identify and fix Trojan horses that threaten to sabotage healthcare devices, public infrastructure, and financial, military, or government electronics.
While software viruses are easy to spot and fix with downloadable patches, deliberately inserted hardware defects are invisible and act surreptitiously. Under the system proposed by Garg and his colleagues, the verifying processor can be fabricated separately from the chip.
Garg said, “Employing an external verification unit made by a trusted fabricator means that I can go to an untrusted foundry to produce a chip that has not only the circuitry-performing computations, but also a module that presents proofs of correctness”.
The chip designers say that this arrangement is intended to provide a safety net for both the chip maker and the end user.