Guy Gogniat

Title Transient Key-based Obfuscation for HLS in an Untrusted Cloud Environment

Recent advances in cloud computing have led to the advent of Business-to-Business Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, opening new opportunities for EDA. High-Level Synthesis (HLS) in the cloud is likely to offer great opportunities to hardware design companies. However, these companies are still reluctant to make such a transition, due to the new risks of Behavioral Intellectual Property (BIP) theft that a cloud-based solution presents. In this paper, we introduce a key-based obfuscation approach to protect BIPs during cloud-based HLS. The source-to-source transformations we propose hide functionality and make normal behavior dependent on a series of input keys. In our process, the obfuscation is transient: once an obfuscated BIP is synthesized through HLS by a service provider in the cloud, the obfuscation code can only be removed at Register Transfer Level (RTL) by the design company that owns the correct obfuscation keys. Original functionality is thus restored and design overhead is kept at a minimum. Our method significantly increases the level of security of cloud-based HLS at low performance overhead. The average area overhead after obfuscation and subsequent de-obfuscation with tests performed on ASIC and FPGA is 0.39%, and over 95% of our tests had an area overhead under 5%.


Prof. Dr Guy Gogniat is a full Professor in Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of South Brittany (UBS), Lorient, France. He is currently the Vice-President research & innovation of UBS, France. He was a visiting Researcher at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA, where he worked on embedded system security using reconfigurable technologies. His research activities span across multiple areas of embedded computing, including model based design methodologies, adaptive computing, reconfigurable architectures, rapid system prototyping, embedded system security and hardware/software co-design. His current research focuses on embedded system security. Over the past 20 years, he has supervised 40+ PhD and MS theses combined. To his credit, there are many research projects funded by French National and European funding agencies.