New Research Collaboration Will Help Combat Potential Semiconductor Security Threats

Tuesday, Jan 07, 2014, 1:00pm

by Semiconductor Industry Association

The potential threat of security-compromised semiconductors is of growing concern to the Department of Defense, U.S. national security, and our industry. While the threat may be minimal, given the magnitude of the potential impacts, it makes sense to take steps to try to reduce these risks. SIA and the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) have taken action recently to address these concerns.

SIA has led semiconductor industry efforts to raise awareness of potential security threats and to reduce the prevalence of counterfeit semiconductors in the supply chain, which are also a growing threat to our national security. For example, SIA last year worked closely with distributors, customers and government agencies to develop proven approaches for avoiding counterfeit semiconductor products, outlined in a white paper titled Winning the Battle Against Counterfeit Semiconductors.

Additionally, SRC – an SIA partner organization – recently announced a joint effort with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund research on novel strategies and tools aimed at securing semiconductor design and manufacture processes, including preventing vulnerabilities and making systems that are resistant to attack or tampering. The initiative, called Secure, Trustworthy, Assured and Resilient Semiconductors and Systems (STARSS), will focus on architecture and design; security properties, principles and metrics; current and future threat assessment; security verification and analysis; tools and frameworks for implementing security in design; and authentication and attestation.

SIA has long advocated for government funding of basic scientific research, which is critical to sustaining the pipeline of new discoveries that fuel our industry and the U.S. economy. With its focus on product safety and security, the STARSS program represents an equally important area of focus for government research funding.

Stemming the tide of hardware security threats will require a multi-faceted, collaborative approach, and the STARSS initiative marks a significant step forward in this effort. Through programs like STARSS and other collaborative initiatives, SIA will continue to take a leadership role in advancing the security of semiconductor products.