COUNTERFOIL: Verifying Provenance of Integrated Circuits using Intrinsic Package Fingerprints and Inexpensive Cameras


Siva Nishok Dhanuskodi, Xiang Li, and Daniel Holcomb, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Counterfeit integrated circuits are responsible for billions of dollars in losses to the semiconductor industry each year, and jeopardize the reliability of critical systems that unwittingly rely on them. Counterfeit parts, which are primarily recycled, test rejects, or legitimate but regraded, have to date been found in a number of systems, including critical defense systems. In this work, we present COUNTERFOIL – an anti-counterfeiting system based on enrolling and authenticating intrinsic features of the molded packages that enclose a majority of semiconductor chips sold on the market. Our system relies on computer-readable labels, inexpensive cameras, imaging processing using OpenCV, and digital signatures, to enroll and verify chip packages. We demonstrate our approach on a dataset from over 100 chips. We show that our technique is effective and reliable for verifying provenance under a variety of settings, and evaluate the robustness of the package features by using different imaging platforms, and by wearing the chips with silicon carbide polishing grit in a rock tumbler. We show that, even if an adversary steals the exact mold used to produce an enrolled chip package, he will have limited success in being able to counterfeit the chip.

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@inproceedings {251596,
author = {Siva Nishok Dhanuskodi and Xiang Li and Daniel Holcomb},
title = {{COUNTERFOIL}: Verifying Provenance of Integrated Circuits using Intrinsic Package Fingerprints and Inexpensive Cameras},
booktitle = {29th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 20)},
year = {2020},
isbn = {978-1-939133-17-5},
pages = {1255--1272},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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