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Working to Eradicate Counterfeit ICs from Government System Applications
by Terry Danzer - 2017-03-16 15:33:02.0

The 42nd annual GOMACTech Conference takes place in Reno, Nevada on the week of March 20th. The event was established as a forum to review and exchange ideas and information on microelectronics in ‘government systems’. The advances in microelectronics have been greater and more expedient than anyone could have predicted, and have outpaced other technology arenas. Since the first GOMACTech conference in 1968, it has provided an invaluable environment for sharing new technologies, capabilities and methodologies in servicing government based microelectronics.


The counterfeiting of integrated circuits (ICs) is increasing, which can impact the functionality, safety and security of many electronic systems.  This is a key concern in many application spaces, but particularly in government systems which place the safety of civilian and military personal at the utmost importance.

There are many real-world examples of counterfeit semiconductors making it into the field.  The SIA estimates counterfeit devices cost US-based manufacturers $7.5 billion each year, and 15% of all spare and replacement parts purchased by the Pentagon are not genuine.

These statistics and the potential risk implications require a solution to ensure microelectronics are manufactured with the highest quality and security.  The Trusted Foundry Program was established in 2004 to combat these threats. Managed by the Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA), the accreditation program is part of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) strategy to ensure that electronic components used in U.S. military and national security applications are trustworthy and secure.  ON Semiconductor is a DMEA Category 1A Trusted Foundry at its Pocatello, Idaho and Gresham, Oregon manufacturing sites, as well as a Trusted Design and Trusted Broker supplier.  In November 2016, ON Semiconductor expanded our offering to include Trusted Test, which allows us to control the process flow from design through product shipment. 


At this year’s GOMACTech, ON Semiconductor will be presenting a paper (Poster session, 10:30AM – 12:00PM, Grand Ballroom, Thursday 23rd March) on part authentication using physically unclonable functions (PUFs).  Using a unique and proprietary PUF architecture (patent filed), ON Semiconductor can authenticate a semiconductors origin of manufacturing.    

ON Semiconductor’s unique PUF solution is used as a semiconductor “DNA marker”, which is nearly impossible for a counterfeiter to replicate.  This solution enables ON Semiconductor’s customers to validate that the semiconductors were manufactured at the intended manufacturing site, and thus, not a counterfeit device.  This authentication procedure can ON Semiconductor’s customers manufacturing process and/or once a device has been deployed for many years.

ON Semiconductor’s new approach that will be described in the session, mitigates against two well-known weaknesses of existing arbiter-based PUFs: their susceptibility to machine learning attacks, and inconsistent responses due to variations in supply and temperature, aging effects and noise.

Due to the increasing threat of counterfeit semiconductors, it is imperative that the semiconductor industry and the agencies in which they serve have an appropriate solution to eliminate the potential for counterfeit devices being deployed.  ON Semiconductor is providing a solution that is extremely light-weight, easy to use and has minimal impact on silicon area. 

To learn more, visit us at GOMAC (booth #38) or check our Aerospace & Defense Applications webpage.


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