Adjusting Laser Injections for Fully Controlled Faults
Hardware characterizations of integrated circuits have been evolving rapidly with the advent of more precise, sophisticated and cost-efficient tools. In this paper we describe how the fine tuning of a laser source has been used to characterize, set and reset the state of registers in a 90 nm chip. By adjusting the incident laser beam’s location, it is possible to choose to switch any register value from ‘ 0 ’ to ‘ 1 ’ or vice-versa by targeting the PMOS side or the NMOS side. Plus, we show how to clear a register by selecting a laser beam’s power. With the help of imaging techniques, we are able to explain the underlying phenomenon and provide a direct link between the laser mapping and the physical gate structure. Thus, we correlate the localization of laser fault injections with implementations of the PMOS and NMOS areas in the silicon substrate. This illustrates to what extent laser beams can be used to monitor the bits stored within registers, with adverse consequences in terms of security evaluation of integrated circuits.