Detecting Cyber Attacks on Voltage, Temperature and Timing Sensors

April 15, 2020 by Paul Shepard

UltraSoC and Agile Analog announced a collaboration that aims to deliver the industry’s most comprehensive hardware-based cybersecurity infrastructure by combining UltraSoC’s embedded on-chip analytics with Agile Analog’s advanced on-chip analog monitoring IP. The combination will enable the detection and prevention of ‘analog interference’ cyber attacks that circumvent traditional security measures by tampering with underlying systems such as power supply levels or clock signals.

UltraSoC’s recently-announced cybersecurity products monitor the functional behavior of digital circuitry, adding an extra layer of defense-in-depth to the security landscape, and detecting and mitigating cyber threats at hardware speed.

Agile Analog offers a parallel range of “smart” monitors in the analog domain, such as voltage, temperature and timing sensors to detect side-channel attacks or anomalous behavior that could indicate a cyber attack. The combination of system-level digital monitoring and analog capabilities will enable a holistic approach to hardware-based cybersecurity.

These types of side-channel attacks, such as voltage and clock glitching, brownouts and temperature variations, can be used to gain access to a chip’s internal circuitry, which makes UltraSoC’s hardware based security essential in monitoring and defending against these attacks where hackers may exploit side-channel vulnerabilities to launch a brute force attack.

Gajinder Panesar, CTO at UltraSoC, commented: “Agile Analog has some truly unique technology that’s invaluable in monitoring the underlying analog behavior of an SoC for potential signs of suspicious or unexpected activity. We believe that partnerships like this are key to enabling a holistic secure embedded cybersecurity architecture with monitoring capable of delivering from fab to field.”

Mike Hulse, CTO at Agile Analog, added: “We share UltraSoC’s vision of a holistic embedded cybersecurity ecosystem. Working together will allow us to move a step closer to that vision. Security is one of the key pain points faced by every electronics manufacturer today – particularly in industries such as automotive. The complementary nature of our technologies – UltraSoC offering system-level functional monitoring, and Agile Analog looking at underlying analog behavior – makes our products a natural fit for cybersecurity applications.”