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DARPA Develops Electronic Component-Authentication System

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has announced that it will launch a program designed to thwart the use of counterfeit electronic components, particularly those in military electronics systems, which is becoming a widespread problem. DARPA’s Supply Chain Hardware Integrity for Electronics Defense (SHIELD) program will develop a 100 × 100 micron component, which it calls a dielet, to authenticate electronic components. This tool, according to DARPA, would let users “verify, without disrupting or harming the system, the trustworthiness of a protected electronic component.” It will consist of an encryption engine and antitampering sensors that could indicate tampering if exposed to light, as well as wireless-communications and power components. It will be small enough to fit on microchips by electronics makers. Consumers would apply an ordinary probe to a component to authenticate it. Although the system has yet to be developed, DARPA says, after such a scan, another device, perhaps a smartphone, should be able to upload a serial number to a central server to check the component. The server would send an unencrypted challenge to the dielet for authentication, which sends back an encrypted answer and data from the sensors. “SHIELD demands a tool that costs less than a penny per unit, yet makes counterfeiting too expensive and technically difficult to do,” DARPA program manager Kerry Bernstein, told Network World. “What SHIELD is seeking is a very advanced piece of hardware that will offer an on-demand authentication method never before available to the supply chain.” (SlashDot)(Network World)(RT)(SHIELD: Supply Chain Hardware Integrity for Electronics Defense Proposers’ Day)

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