In the first of this three-part blog series, we define anti-tamper technologies, the low-cost attacks that target security chips, and some of the countermeasures that are effective against them.
It is important to understand that the term “anti-tamper” means many different things to many different people. In this series, we use the term to describe a set of countermeasures that are designed to thwart an adversary’s attempt to monitor and/or affect the correct operations of a security chip. Put simply, anti-tamper is what makes a security chip. A chip that runs cryptographic algorithms and lacks anti-tamper protection is not really a security chip.
It should also be noted that anti-tamper protections can be inherited from one part of the chip to another. This means there are certain countermeasures that can be implemented at the chip level – and used to protect algorithms running in other parts of the chip. Sometimes anti-tamper protection is algorithmic within the circuit itself, or can be more system-wide, making it capable of protecting the entire chip simultaneously.
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