Date of Award

Fall 2016

Project Type


Program or Major

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Qiaoyan Yu

Second Advisor

Thomas Miller

Third Advisor

Nicholas J Kirsch


The reliability and security vulnerability of modern electronic systems have emerged as concerns due to the increasing natural and intentional interferences. Radiation of high-energy charged particles generated from space environment or packaging materials on the substrate of integrated circuits results in natural faults. As the technology scales down, factors such as critical charge, voltage supply, and frequency change tremendously that increase the sensitivity of integrated circuits to natural faults even for systems operating at sea level. An attacker is able to simulate the impact of natural faults and compromise the circuit or cause denial of service. Therefore, instead of utilizing different approaches to counteract the effect of natural and intentional faults, a unified countermeasure is introduced. The unified countermeasure thwarts the impact of both reliability and security threats without paying the price of more area overhead, power consumption, and required time.

This thesis first proposes a systematic analysis method to assess the probability of natural faults propagating the circuit and eventually being latched. The second part of this work focuses on the methods to thwart the impact of intentional faults in cryptosystems. We exploit a power-based side-channel analysis method to analyze the effect of the existing fault detection methods for natural faults on fault attack. Countermeasures for different security threats on cryptosystems are investigated separately. Furthermore, a new micro-architecture is proposed to thwart the combination of fault attacks and side-channel attacks, reducing the fault bypass rate and slowing down the key retrieval speed. The third contribution of this thesis is a unified countermeasure to thwart the impact of both natural faults and attacks. The unified countermeasure utilizes dynamically alternated multiple generator polynomials for the cyclic redundancy check (CRC) codec to resist the reverse engineering attack.