Practical silicon-surface-protection method using metal layer

Kyungsuk Yi, Minsu Park, Seungjoo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The reversal of a silicon chip to find out its security structure is common and possible at the present time. Thanks to reversing, it is possible to use a probing attack to obtain useful information such as personal information or a cryptographic key. For this reason, security-related blocks such as DES (Data Encryption Standard), AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), and RSA (Rivest Shamir Adleman) engines should be located in the lower layer of the chip to guard against a probing attack; in this regard, the addition of a silicon-surface-protection layer onto the chip surface is a crucial protective measure. But, for manufacturers, the implementation of an additional silicon layer is burdensome, because the addition of just one layer to a chip significantly increases the overall production cost; furthermore, the chip size is increased due to the bulk of the secure logic part and routing area of the silicon protection layer. To resolve this issue, this paper proposes a practical silicon-surface-protection method using a metal layer that increases the security level of the chip while minimizing its size and cost. The proposed method uses a shift register for the alternation and variation of the metal-layer data, and the inter-connection area is removed to minimize the size and cost of the chip in a more extensive manner than related methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-480
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Semiconductor Technology and Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug


  • Active shield
  • Metal layer
  • Passive shield
  • Secure design
  • Shield
  • Silicon-surface protection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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