The Unpatchable Silicon: A Full Break of the Bitstream Encryption of Xilinx 7-Series FPGAs

By Ruhr University Max Planck Institute
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In this paper, the authors introduce novel low-cost attacks against the Xilinx 7-Series (and Virtex-6) bitstream encryption, resulting in the total loss of authenticity and confidentiality. We exploit a design flaw which piecewise leaks the decrypted bit- stream. In the attack, the FPGA is used as a decryption oracle, while only access to a configuration interface is needed. The attack does not require any sophisticated tools and, depending on the target system, can potentially be launched remotely. In addition to the attacks, the authors discuss several countermeasures. Read More



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