white_circuits-1024x597Fault injection attacks induce faults in integrated circuits (ICs), which cause the ICs to behave abnormally. Attackers can exploit these abnormalities to identify or create security weaknesses, which expose sensitive information, or allow attackers to simply bypass the security measures. Some of the more common methods for inducing faults attackers are lasers, clock glitches, EM fault injection, and power glitches. By introducing a power glitch an attacker can disrupt the power supply in a controlled manner. As device behavior under fault attacks is profiled, the attacker can concentrate the fault injection in time and magnitude to achieve desired results.

Electromagnetic Fault Injection (EM-FI) is an emerging attack, which poses a serious threat to IC security. EM-FI directs an EM pulse towards the device under attack to induce faults using an EM-FI probe. These magnetic pulses generate a voltage glitch in the circuit under attack, which can turn a transistor ON (or OFF) potentially compromising the device’s security. Attackers can easily localize an EM-FI attack reducing the time needed to mount a successful attack. Since the EM pulse can travel through non-metallic surfaces, EM-FI does not require de-capsulation of the device and can be carried out on packaged parts.