Utilizing and Extending Trusted Execution Environment in Heterogeneous SoCs for a Pay-per-Device IP Licensing Scheme

Nadir Khan; Sven Nitzsche; Asier Garciandia López; Jürgen Becker
IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
A pay-per-use Intellectual Property (IP) licensing model that can protect IPs from multiple participants will benefit the FPGA IP market and Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Existing protection solutions in modern FPGA devices rely on dedicated decryption engines that use cryptographic keys, which require programming them in a trusted environment. Since designs from multiple participants need protection in a typical licensing scenario, it requires a trusted third party for key programming and encryption tasks. These requirements led to the proposition of several licensing schemes; however, they do not address several security and flexibility challenges. Therefore, in this work, we propose a pay-per-device IP licensing scheme that is secure, less restrictive for the system developer and offers protection against malicious IP cores. The scheme relies on a Security Framework (SFW) that provides a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), which handles key storage, cryptographic operations, and security monitoring. A device running the SFW can be considered a trusted platform that provides a direct secure path for the IP from its vendor to the device’s TEE, where it is decrypted, analyzed and, then configured on the programmable logic.
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Nadir Khan