Research Insights Volume 8 – Hardware Design: FPGA Security Risks

FPGA stands for field-programmable gate array. An FPGA is a logic device whose function can be changed while the device is in place within its working environment, allowing the hardware processing of a system to be altered by an external configuration loading process. Their very nature creates potential security risks, and given they are used in automotive, medical, defence and factory equipment its essential that any threats are understood and where possible remediated.

The paper examines the process of developing configuration binaries for FPGA devices and the potential security problems that could be encountered. The information within is useful for anyone who works with embedded devices, software and hardware developers or producers who may want to understand the potential security risks of using FPGAs within their devices.

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