Secure IC with countermeasure to unpowered physical attack using on-chip photodiode and charge pump

Hyunwoo Heo, Donggeun You, Hyungseup Kim, Yongsu Kwon, Hyoungho Ko, Dong Kyue Kim, Byong Deok Choi, Ji Hoon Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

An unpowered invasive or semi-invasive physical attack on a chip can be a severe threat to the secure data stored in the target chip. This paper presents a secure circuit that can detect unpowered attacks and destroy internal secure data using an on-chip photodiode and charge pump under an unpowered condition. If the chip is under a physical attack including decapsulation, the chip will be exposed to the incident light. The proposed circuit detects the light and converts this light into an electrical signal, which then activates the self-destroying circuit without need for power supply. The self-destroying mechanism uses a gate voltage which is higher than the gate-oxide breakdown voltage that can destroy the transistor of the chip. An on-chip photodiode is used for light sensing. As the harvested voltage from the photodiode is not enough to cause gate-oxide breakdown of the transistor, a charge pump is used to generate the high gate voltage. The charge pump is fabricated using a standard $0.18\ \mu\mathrm{m}$ complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) process with an area of 0.12 mm2. The charge pump output increases to 7 V with a supply voltage of 0.7 V.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2021 International Conference on Electronics, Information, and Communication, ICEIC 2021
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781728191614
DOIs
StatePublished - 31 Jan 2021
Event2021 International Conference on Electronics, Information, and Communication, ICEIC 2021 - Jeju, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 31 Jan 20213 Feb 2021

Publication series

Name2021 International Conference on Electronics, Information, and Communication, ICEIC 2021

Conference

Conference2021 International Conference on Electronics, Information, and Communication, ICEIC 2021
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
CityJeju
Period31/01/213/02/21

Keywords

  • Charge pump
  • Decapsulation
  • Invasive attack
  • Photodiode
  • Physical attack
  • Secure circuit
  • Thin-oxide transistor
  • Unpowered countermeasure

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