Hardware Trojan Detection Game: A Prospect-Theoretic Approach

Walid Saad, Anibal Sanjab, Yunpeng Wang, Charles Kamhoua, Kevin Kwiat

Outsourcing integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing to offshore foundries has grown exponentially in recent years. Given the critical role of ICs in the control and operation of vehicular systems and other modern engineering designs, such offshore outsourcing has led to serious security threats due to the potential of insertion of hardware trojans - malicious designs that, when activated, can lead to highly detrimental consequences. In this paper, a novel game-theoretic framework is proposed to analyze the interactions between a hardware manufacturer, acting as attacker, and an IC testing facility, acting as defender. The problem is formulated as a noncooperative game in which the attacker must decide on the type of trojan that it inserts while taking into account the detection penalty as well as the damage caused by the trojan. Meanwhile, the resource-constrained defender must decide on the best testing strategy that allows optimizing its overall utility which accounts for both damages and the fines. The proposed game is based on the robust behavioral framework of prospect theory (PT) which allows capturing the potential uncertainty, risk, and irrational behavior in the decision making of both the attacker and defender. For both, the standard rational expected utility (EUT) case and the PT case, a novel algorithm based on fictitious play is proposed and shown to converge to a mixed-strategy Nash equilibrium. For an illustrative case study, thorough analytical results are derived for both EUT and PT to study the properties of the reached equilibrium as well as the impact of key system parameters such as the defender-set fine. Simulation results assess the performance of the proposed framework under both EUT and PT and show that the use of PT will provide invaluable insights on the outcomes of the proposed hardware trojan game, in particular, and system security, in general.

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