Startup opens lab for chip security evaluation

November 29, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
French startup Texplained Sarl (Sophia Antipolis, France) has opened a laboratory for analysis of IC security and to help companies and governments protect against counterfeiting, IP theft and security breaches.

Texplained uses reverse engineering techniques to determine key IC pin-out from PCB layout and then plasma etching, chemical mechanical polishing and wet chemical etching to delayer ICs. Each interconnect layer and the active layer is then imaged with a scanning election microscope. Texplained's final contribution is proprietary reverse-engineering software called ARES that can be used to analyse the images of the circuits on each layer and ultimately to extract a netlist of the device.

This netlist can then be the starting point for further analysis and study. Texplained does not refer to the use of a focused ion beam system for more precise exposure of IC details.

"We approach, assess and solve microchip security issues with a different mindset – half hacker, half engineer with electronics knowledge. Armed with this unique mindset and the latest laboratory technologies, our pioneering 'savoir-faire' enables us to solve our clients' microchip security issues on a worldwide basis," according to Olivier Thomas, CEO of Texplained.

Thomas founded Texplained in 2013 with Clarisse Ginet, head of business development joining shortly afterwards.

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