Think Smart, Play Dumb: A Game Theoretic Approach to Study Deception in Hardware Trojan Testing
AdvisorSengupta, Dr. Shamik
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In recent years, integrated circuits (ICs) have become a significant part in the operations for various industries and have given hardware security a greater priority, specifically in the supply chain where malicious manufacturers could insert hardware trojans (HT) to corrupt them. Due to budget constraints, many IC designers send ICs to offshore factories for manufacturing. When the designer gets the manufactured ICs back, it is imperative that they test for potential threats. In this thesis, a novel multi-level game-theoretic framework is introduced to analyze the interactions between a hardware manufacturer, who may be an attacker, and an IC designer, acting as defender, in terms of how they navigate the area of hardware testing. In particular, the game is formulated as a non-cooperative, zero-sum, repeated game using the mathematical framework of prospect theory (PT), which allows capturing the players' different rationalities when faced by uncertainty. The repeated game is separated into a learning stage, in which the defender learns about the attacker's strategy and an actual game stage, in which it acts accordingly. The thesis shows that there is a great incentive for the attacker to deceive the defender about their actual rationality by ``playing dumb" in the learning stage. This scenario is captured by extending the game into a higher level in which hypergame theory is used to model the attacker's view of the game. To this end, the optimal deception rationality of the attacker is analytically derived to maximize the attacker's outcome from the deception process. For the defender, a first-step deception mitigation process is proposed to thwart the effects of deception. Simulation results show that the attacker can profit from the deception as it can successfully insert HTs in the manufactured ICs without being detected.