Title: Using Supply Voltage Metal Layers as Low Cost Means to Hinder Several Types of Physical Attacks

Year of Publication: Dec - 2014
Page Numbers: 54-62
Authors: Christian Wittke , Zoya Dyka, Frank Vater, Anton Datsuk and Peter Langendoerfer
Conference Name: The International Conference in Information Security and Digital Forensics (ISDF2014)
- Greece


In this paper, we describe the idea of using the metallization layers used for supplying ICs with VDD and GND as a low-cost countermeasure for semi-invasive front-side attacks. The core of our idea is to realize both supply voltages – GND and VDD – no longer fixed on metal one but to shift them up in different top metal layers and to implement it both as metal plane. This helps to prevent semi-invasive attacks that require an optical access to the transistor level while the device is fully functional. An additional countermeasure effect may be hindering of EMA, PA and microprobing. Early experiments with a simple 3x3 multiplier show that our idea can be used with standard layout tools such as encounter from synopsis.