Advanced Detection of Electronic Counterfeits (ADEC) for FPGA Authentication and Integrity Verification

Period of Performance: 09/28/2015 - 09/28/2017


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nokomis, Inc.
310 5th St. Array
Charleroi, PA 15022
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT:Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and other complex microelectronic devices are critical to Air Force advanced electronic systems. As the sophistication of supply chain counterfeit infiltration continued to grow, criminal elements and adversarial states have expanded the use of advanced techniques that defeat conventional screening methodologies to exploit supply chain weaknesses for profit and/or military/strategic advantage. Current test technologies are plainly insufficient to meet the emerging threat resulting in the systematic integration of suspect material into critical Air Force systems. The Advanced Detection of Electronic Counterfeits (ADEC) technology exploits subtle, fingerprint-like indicators in the unintended radiated emissions of electronic parts to quickly and reliably detect cyber-physical security threats. This effort will commence the transition of an enhanced, flexible ADEC capability supporting manual assessments of critical electronics and FPGA programming applications. Nokomis will develop a Comparative Analysis Toolset (CAT) to increase system agility towards evolving cyber-physical threats that enables custom analyses to be performed by knowledgeable Air Force operators. ADEC will be into an operational environment within the Air Force, with pilot activities conducted to validate system performance.BENEFIT:Air Force programs rely upon authentic electronic parts and programming applications for critical functionality. This effort places an enhanced ADEC capability into a critical point in the Air Force supply chain where counterfeit and subverted material can be screened prior to their integration into Air Force systems. Transition of this technology thereby improves information assurance and reliability of all supported Air Force programs and weapon platforms. The ADEC technology inserted as a standalone tool in the nondestructive hardware inspection process is expected to provide the Air Force with a higher level of hardware assurance. ADEC will enable Air Force operators to inspect and detect compromised components throughout the entire acquisition life cycle. By providing reliable screening of counterfeit and intentionally modified electronics, ADEC is expected to provide improved reliability of information assurance systems and potential cost savings in the maintenance and sustainment phase. The ADEC technology will further offer a new technical mitigation avenue for program risks related to both counterfeit electronic components and embedded malicious FPGA programming. Beyond transition to the Air Force, the developed capability can be transitioned to the Navy, Army, and other agencies to provide similar benefit across critical DoD systems.