Date of Award

Spring 2015

Project Type


Program or Major

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Qiaoyan Yu

Second Advisor

Thomas Miller

Third Advisor

John LaCourse


Hardware security is a serious emerging concern in chip designs and applications. Due to the globalization of the semiconductor design and fabrication process, integrated circuits (ICs, a.k.a. chips) are becoming increasingly vulnerable to passive and active hardware attacks. Passive attacks on chips result in secret information leaking while active attacks cause IC malfunction and catastrophic system failures. This thesis focuses on detection and prevention methods against active attacks, in particular, hardware Trojan (HT). Existing HT detection methods have limited capability to detect small-scale HTs and are further challenged by the increased process variation. We propose to use differential Cascade Voltage Switch Logic (DCVSL) method to detect small HTs and achieve a success rate of 66% to 98%. This work also presents different fault tolerant methods to handle the active attacks on symmetric-key cipher SIMON, which is a recent lightweight cipher. Simulation results show that our Even Parity Code SIMON consumes less area and power than double modular redundancy SIMON and Reversed-SIMON, but yields a higher fault -detection-failure rate as the number of concurrent faults increases. In addition, the emerging technology, memristor, is explored to protect SIMON from passive attacks. Simulation results indicate that the memristor-based SIMON has a unique power characteristic that adds new challenges on secrete key extraction.