Secure Semiconductors: Sensible, or Sisyphean?
The May 2008 IEEE spectrum magazine, in “The Hunt for the Kill Switch“:
“Feeding those dreams is the Pentagon’s realization that it no longer controls who manufactures the components that go into its increasingly complex systems. A single plane like the DOD’s next generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, can contain an “insane number” of chips, says one semiconductor expert familiar with that aircraft’s design. Estimates from other sources put the total at several hundred to more than a thousand. And tracing a part back to its source is not always straightforward. The dwindling of domestic chip and electronics manufacturing in the United States, combined with the phenomenal growth of suppliers in countries like China, has only deepened the U.S. military’s concern.”
In 2005, the prestigious Defense Science Board warned in a report that the continuing shift to overseas chip fabrication could expose the Pentagon’s most mission-critical integrated circuits to sabotage. The board was especially alarmed that no existing tests could detect such compromised chips.
Recognizing this enormous vulnerability, in late 2007 the Pentagon issued contracts that launched the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) 3-year Trust in Integrated Circuits initiative. It has been succeeded by IRIS, the Integrity and Reliability in Integrated Circuits (IRIS) initiative.
Contracts and Key Events
Work will be performed in Marina del Rey, CA until July 25/14. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency manages the contract (HR0011-11-C-0041).
Feb 15/11: IRIS. The University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute in Marina del Rey, CA receives a $6.6 million cost, no-fee contract for the Integrity and Reliability in Integrated Circuits (IRIS) Program. Their research is intended to supply benchmark test articles to better focus and drive the results of the IRIS program.
Work will be performed in Marina del Rey, CA until May 31/14. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency manages the contract (HR0011-11-C-0041).
Sept 15/10: IRIS. DARPA releases the FedBizOpps solicitation (DARPA-BAA-10-33) for its IRIS initiative:
“The objective of the Integrity and Reliability of Integrated Circuits (IRIS) program is to develop the technology to derive the functionality of an IC to determine unambiguously if malicious modifications have been made to that IC, and to accurately determine the IC’s useful lifespan from a physical perspective.”
Feb 26/10: TiC III. Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in El Segundo, CA receives a $10.7 million cost-plus-fixed fee Phase III contract related to the TRUST in Integrated Circuits program. In Phase III, Raytheon will further refine their techniques to protect all stage of the application specific integrated circuits (ASIC) design process.
Work is to be performed in El Segundo, CA (39%); San Jose, CA (3%); Lexington, MA (9%); Albuquerque, NM (25%); Burlington, MA (15%); and Santa Clara, CA (9%), with an estimated completion date of February 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web, with 29 bids received by the Defense Advances Research Projects Agency in Arlington, VA (HR0011-08-C-0005).
Dec 24/08: TiC II Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in El Segundo, CA receives a $10.7 million cost price firm-fixed Phase II contract for Research related to the TRUST in Integrated Circuits (TIC) program.
In Phase II, Raytheon will refine their techniques to protect all stages of the Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) design process, to ensure that integrated circuits can be trusted regardless of their origin and fabrication process. Work will be performed in El Segundo and San Jose, CA; Lexington, MA; Nashua, NH; and Albuquerque, NM; with an estimated completion date of Dec 22/09. Bids were solicited by a broad agency announcement, with 29 bids received by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Arlington, VA (HR0011-08-C-0005).
Oct 31/07: TiC. Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in El Segundo, CA received a $3 million increment of an $11.9 million cost plus fixed-fee contract for the TRUST in Integrated Circuits program.
Work will be performed in El Segundo, CA (47%), San Jose, CA (10%), Lexington, MA (5%), Albuquerque, NM (17%), and Nashua, NH (21%), and is expected to be complete in October 2008. Funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. DARPA issued a solicitation on the Federal Business Opportunities website on March 7/07, and 29 proposals were received (HR0011-08-C-0005).
Oct 26/07: TiC. The University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA received a $1.1 million increment of a $13 million cost plus fixed-fee contract to deliver test articles for the TRUST in Integrated Circuits program. Work will be performed in Los Angeles, and is expected to be completed in February 2012. Funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency issued a solicitation in Federal Business Opportunities on Jan 15/07, and one proposal was received (HR0011-07-C-0099).
- DARPA – Integrity and Reliability in Integrated Circuits
- US DMEA – Trusted Integrated Circuits Supplier Accreditation Program. Impetus began with the Defense Trusted Integrated Circuits Strategy (DTICS) in October 2003, followed by a January 2004 directive and a February 2004 announcement.
- WIRED Danger Room (June 24/11) – Fishy Chips: Spies Want to Hack-Proof Circuits
- San Jose Mercury (Sept 5/10) – Fake chips threaten military.
- DID (Oct 7/08) – Counterfeit Chinese Electronics Inside American Defense Equipment?
- DID (Sept 30/08) – The USA’s National Cybersecurity Initiative. Relates to government IT systems. The article notes recent instances of cyber-attacks used as part of state conflicts.
- DID – “Suspect Counterfeit”: Fake Electronics in US Defense Equipment. This is a different problem, but there is some relationship between the 2 issues.