Development of an Anti-Tamper Operational Environment Sensor

Period of Performance: 04/07/2006 - 04/07/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Barron Assoc., Inc.
Principal Investigator


"Black-box" attacks have the potential to significantly diminish the technological advantage of the U.S. military while requiring relatively modest resources on the part of an adversary. The "black-box" attack is an attempt to understand the functionality of a system from an input-output perspective, without the need to fully reverse engineer the implementation. The attack typically involves testing a system in a laboratory environment where a wide range of input conditions can be systematically introduced. The knowledge gained from such an attack can be used effectively to develop countermeasures to U.S. systems. Anti-tamper hardware technology is needed to thwart such attacks and protect critical program information. We propose a research effort to develop an operational environment sensor to address the anti-tamper hardware need. During a "black-box" attack in a laboratory environment, the system configuration will typically be altered in some fashion to facilitate testing. Such alteration will affect the characteristics of the RF spectrum emitted by the device. Our approach employs an RF sensor capable of sweeping through a broad frequency range and detecting changes in the characteristic spectrum, which will be indicative of an attack.