Hardware Security in VLSI: Emerging Challenges

  • April 23, 2024

    author: Ramya


As more people and places throughout the world connect to the internet, it is more important than ever to make sure that physical systems are secure. Very Large-Scale Integration, or VLSI for short, is an important part of the process of developing complicated hardware designs including microprocessors, Internet of Things devices, and embedded systems. However, new obstacles for hardware security have arisen as a result of an increase in the sophistication of cyber attacks and a growth in the complexity of hardware design. Within the context of VLSI design, we will investigate the new issues that are arising in the field of hardware security in this blog post.

Gaining an Understanding of Hardware Security: 

What Is It and Why Is It Important?

The importance of defining hardware security in order to secure sensitive data and maintain the integrity of the system is discussed.

Putting an emphasis on the role that hardware security plays in avoiding unauthorised access, tampering, and exploiting of computer systems.

The Difference Between Hardware and Software Security:

When compared to software security, hardware security has its advantages.Having a conversation about the specific dangers and difficulties that come along with safeguarding hardware systems.

Landscape of Danger Regarding Hardware Security:

Side-Channel Attacks:

Providing an explanation of side-channel assaults, which take advantage of the accidental disclosure of information through power usage, electromagnetic emissions, or variations in timing.

A discussion on the difficulties involved in preventing information from being stolen through side-channel assaults and protecting sensitive data.

Fraudulent Software and Hardware Trojan Horses:

A discussion on the dangers that can be posed to hardware designs by the introduction of malicious modifications or Trojan horses.

Bringing attention to the difficulties associated with identifying and prohibiting the use of counterfeit hardware as well as unauthorised modifications.

Attacks of a Physical Nature:
Exploring several kinds of physical attacks, such as intrusive approaches (like microprobing) and non-invasive techniques (like fault injection), among other things.

The ramifications of physical attacks on hardware security are discussed, along with the necessity of developing effective defences.

Dangers Involved in the Supply Chain:

Performing an investigation into the flaws and dangers that exist inside the supply chain of hardware, such as the potential for the introduction of malicious components or compromised designs.

Having a conversation about the difficulties that can arise when trying to ensure the authenticity and integrity of hardware components along the supply chain.

Manufacturing and Testing That Can Be Trusted:

In order to reduce the risk of threats to the supply chain, it is important to highlight the significance of trusted manufacturing and testing processes.

Investigating various methods for improving supply chain security, including as the use of trustworthy foundries and secure hardware modules.

Guidelines for the Secure Development of Hardware:
Methodologies for Secure Development:

Having a conversation on the fundamentals and best practises of secure design, such as threat modelling, secure booting, and secure key management.

investigating several methods, including hardware-based encryption, access control, and secure communication protocols, among others.

Physical Safety and Fire Prevention Measures:

Having a conversation about the different types of physical security measures, such as tamper-resistant packaging, anti-tampering coatings, and safe storage for keys.

Understanding the significance of tamper detection and response procedures is the focus of this article.

Emerging Technologies and Future Challenges:

Quantum Computing Threats:

Exploring the potential impact of quantum computing on hardware security.

A discussion on the difficulties involved in creating encryption algorithms and hardware designs that are resistant to quantum computing.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning:

Investigating the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in hardware security, including the identification of threats and anomalies as well as the prevention of intrusions.

Having a conversation about the difficulties of safeguarding AI-based hardware systems from malicious attacks and having that conversation.

Security Concerning the Internet of Things (IoT):

Bringing attention to the specific difficulties that come with protecting IoT devices, such as designs that have limited resources and a variety of communication protocols.

Investigating different security methods for the internet of things, such as hardware-based attestation, secure boot, and secure firmware updates.

Efforts to Cooperate and Initiatives Taken by the Industry:

The Standardisation Process and Recommended Procedures

Having a conversation on the efforts being made across the industry to establish standards and best practises for hardware security.

Bringing attention to various projects such as the Secure Development Lifecycle and the Hardware Security Assurance.

Collaboration Between Universities and Businesses:

In order to solve developing hardware security concerns, it is essential for academic institutions and private companies to work together.

A discussion on the significance of research and the exchange of knowledge in the process of developing the security of hardware.


The topic of hardware security in very large scale integrated circuit (VLSI) design is facing expanding issues as a result of the increasing complexity of hardware systems and the emergence of sophisticated cyber threats. Protecting sensitive data and maintaining the integrity of the system is dependent on properly securing the hardware designs, resolving any vulnerabilities that may exist in the supply chain, and minimising any threats that may arise, such as side-channel attacks and Trojans. As new technologies such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things (IoT) continue to develop, collaborative efforts between industry stakeholders, academic communities, and research communities will play an essential role in addressing these challenges and advancing hardware security to protect our increasingly interconnected world.