Hardware Security Implications of Reliability, Remanence, and Recovery in Embedded Memory

Sergei Skorobogatov
2018 Journal of Hardware and Systems Security  
Secure semiconductor devices usually destroy key material on tamper detection. However, data remanence effect in SRAM and Flash/EEPROM makes secure erasure process more challenging. On the other hand, data integrity of the embedded memory is essential to mitigate fault attacks and Trojan malware. Data retention issues could influence the reliability of embedded systems. Some examples of such issues in industrial and automotive applications are presented. When it comes to the security of
more » ... uctor devices, both data remanence and data retention issues could lead to possible data recovery by an attacker. This paper introduces a new power glitching technique that reduces the data remanence time in embedded SRAM from seconds to microseconds at almost no cost. This would definitely help in designing systems with better secret key guarding. Data remanence in non-volatile memory could be influenced in the same way. The effect of data remanence and data retention on hardware security is discussed and possible countermeasures are suggested. This should raise awareness among the designers of secure embedded systems.
doi:10.1007/s41635-018-0050-5 fatcat:id5qudgntfgj7mjwcmqartef7a