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Developing tamper resistant designs with FPGAs

Posted: 29 Jan 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:anti-tamper  FPGA  RAM 

This application note gives anti-tamper (AT) guidance and practical examples to help the FPGA designer protect the intellectual property (IP) and sensitive data that might exist in an FPGA-enabled system. This protection (in the form of tamper resistance) needs to be effective before, during, and after the FPGA has been configured by a bitstream. Sensitive data can include the configuration data that sets up the functionality of the FPGA logic, critical data and/or parameters that might be included in the bitstream (e.g., initial block RAM contents, initial state of flip-flops, etc.), and external data that is dynamically brought in and out of the FPGA during post-configuration normal operation.

This document summarises the silicon AT features available in the Virtex-6 family, 7 series (Artix, Kintex, Virtex) FPGAs, and the Zynq-7000 family of Extensible Processing Platform (EPP) products, explains why these features exist, and provides use cases and implementation details for each feature. This document also provides guidance on various methods that can be employed to provide additional tamper resistance.

With this application note, engineers can ensure that they are following AT best practices to provide the highest level of protection of their FPGA designs. These best practices broadly apply whether the reason for requiring tamper resistance is to prevent cloning/overbuilding of a commercial design or to protect valuable military critical technology (CT) from reverse engineering efforts by an adversary.

View the PDF document for more information.

Originally published by Xilinx Inc. at as "Developing Tamper Resistant Designs with Xilinx Virtex-6 and 7 Series FPGAs".

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