# Re: "Designing and implementing malicious hardware"

```Perry E. Metzger wrote:
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```Ed Gerck <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:
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```Each chip does not have to be 100% independent, and does not have to
be used 100% of the time.```
```
Assuming a random selection of both outputs and chips for testing, and
a finite set of possible outputs, it is possible to calculate what
sampling ratio would provide an adequate confidence level -- a good
guess is 5% sampling.
```
```
Not likely.

Sampling will not work. Sampling theory assumes statistical
independence and that the events that you're looking for are randomly
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distributed.
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```
Provided you have access to enough chip diversity so as to build a correction channel with sufficient capacity, Shannon's Tenth Theorem assures you that it is possible to reduce the effect of bad chips on the output to an error rate /as close to zero/ as you desire. There is no lower, limiting value but zero.
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```
Statistical independence is not required to be 100%. Events are not required to be randomly flat either. Sampling is required to be independent, but also not 100%.
```
```
```We're dealing with a situation in which the opponent is
doing things that are very much in violation of those assumptions.
```
```
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The counter-point is that the existence of a violation can be tested within a desired confidence level, which confidence level is dynamic.
```
```
```The opponent is, on very very rare occasions, going to send you a
they're going to do nothing at all. You need to be watching 100% of
the time if you're going to catch him with reasonable confidence, but
of course, I doubt even that will work given a halfway smart attacker.
```
```
```
The more comparison channels you have, and the more independent they are, the harder it is to compromise them /at the same time/.
```
```
In regard to time, one strategy is indeed to watch 100% of the time but for random windows of certain lengths and intervals. The duty ratio for a certain desired detection threshold depends on the correction channel total capacity, the signal dynamics, and some other variables. Different implementations will allow for different duty ratios for the same error detection capability.
```
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```The paper itself describes reasonable ways to prevent detection on the
basis of most other obvious methods -- power utilization, timing
issues, etc, can all be patched over well enough to render the
malhardware invisible to ordinary methods of analysis.
```
```
```
Except as above; using a correction channel with enough capacity the problem can /always/ be solved (ie, with an error rate as close to zero as desired).
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```
```Truth be told, I think there is no defense against malicious hardware
that I've heard of that will work reliably, and indeed I'm not sure
that one can be devised.
```
```
```
As above, the problem is solvable (existence proof provided by Shannon's Tenth Theorem). It is not a matter of whether it works -- the solution exists; it's a matter of implementation.
```
Cheers,
Ed Gerck

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