Securing Semiconductor Manufacturing: Tackling Cybersecurity Challenges in SECS/GEM Protocols

Understanding the SECS/GEM protocol in semiconductor manufacturing, specifically the wafer fabrication and packaging phase.


As the global demand for electronics continues to surge, the semiconductor market has reached unprecedented revenue levels. The industry’s value chain comprises four critical stages, each presenting unique cybersecurity challenges:

-Integrated Circuit Design
Engineers design the layout and functionality of integrated circuits using Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools.

-Photomask Production
High-precision templates are created using advanced photolithography techniques, acting as a stencil for patterning semiconductor materials on wafers.

-Wafer Fabrication
This stage involves transferring the designed patterns onto silicon wafers through a series of complex processes.

The final stage, where individual chips are packaged to form complete integrated circuits (ICs).

This publication will focus on the wafer fabrication and packaging stages. Here, several processes are carried out sequentially to create the necessary structures and patterns on the wafer surface. Each process requires specialized equipment, often sourced from different suppliers, necessitating effective communication between these disparate assets. The SECS/GEM protocol is a communication protocol commonly used during the wafer fabrication and packaging stages to facilitate this interaction.

This paper delves into the cyber threats confronting the SECS/GEM protocol and its components. If this critical cog is compromised, the effects on the manufacturing process could ripple through the semiconductor supply chain, impacting the industry at large.

Find more information here.

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