Timothy Linscott

Architecture, Security, and Reconfigurables
Read about my research

I'm a Computer Engineering PhD candidate at Michigan doing research in hardware security. My focus is developing robust on-chip run-time defenses against hardware trojans.

View my resume.

My Research

Recent work has demonstrated how a malicious engineer during design or manufacturing of a computer chip can insert a practically undetectable amount of additional logic that will provide them with a backdoor to any system using that chip. Since this designer is theoretically capable of modifying any component in the design, any defenses placed on-chip are equally susceptable to attack. I am developing on-chip defenses that allow us to leave a chip's design partially undefined at manufacture time at very low cost. By permuting the design, we prevent the attacker from ever knowing what to attack while protecting critical modules with on-chip checkers.

My Papers

Read about some of my past research accomplishments. Click the paper to read more.

SWAN: Reconfigurable Defenses against Hardware Trojans

[IWLS 2018]

To prevent hardware trojans that manipulate the logical functionality of a chip, we replace security-critcal logic with a one-time programmable fabric. Configuring the fabric in a trusted house hides the chip's layout even from a perfect attacker. By including randomly placed monitors, we ensure that simple trojans are detected while trojans that attempt to defeat SWAN are so large they can be found by physical inspection.

Pitfalls and Tradeoffs in Simultaneous, On-Chip FPGA Delay Measurement

[FPGA 2016]

On-chip tests can provide full knowledge of the path delays between components on an FPGA. We discovered that the testing circuitry itself introduced measurable error while providing opportunities for parallel measurement.

Contact Me

Feel free to reach out with any questions you might have about my work.