Chip Security Impacts Power, Performance

While comprehensive security features are needed to protect data on chip, there may be a power and performance hit.

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We know that hackers are getting more sophisticated all the time to the point that it may already be possible to gain access to an automobile without touching it. According to this Financial Times article, with new cars containing an increasing number of connected applications – everything from music streaming services and Bluetooth to email readers and likely even GPS systems – it leaves the system potentially open and vulnerable to attack. And that’s just on the software side.

On the hardware side, there is a cost to adding defensive mechanisms, pointed out Bernard Murphy, CTO of Atrenta this week during a talk we had at the Design Automation Conference, which is also taking the subject of security very seriously with an entire track dedicated to security. The cost, he said, is that all of these defense things effect power and performance of the chip. How this will play out remains to be seen, but we can be sure it is being taken seriously across the industry.

We are still in the early stages of discovering the use models and the solutions to reduce vulnerability in hardware and software and it seems likely that technologies from all parts of the semiconductor ecosystem will need to be considered when conceptualizing the security issue given the ever increasingly connected nature of how we interact with our world.