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Zynq-based PFP eMonitor brings power-based security monitoring to embedded systems

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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PFP Cybersecurity’s eMonitor employs technology based on taking fine-grained measurements of a processor’s power consumption and performing anomaly detection using base references from trusted software sources, machine learning, and data analytics. The overall PFP solution employs distributed sensors at or in the IoT, cloud, or on a premise machine to make these power measurements, which it then compares to a template envelope of expected power behavior. PFP Cybersecurity is demonstrating a Zynq-based version of its technology at this week’s ARM TechCon here in Silicon Valley. The technology is intended as a design add-on for production hardware.


Here’s a photo from the Xilinx booth at ARM TechCon showing the Zynq-based version of the company’s external demonstration vehicle—the eMonitor (in the blue box)—which is testing known good and known bad boards that have supposedly identical designs:



PFP eMonitor.jpg



Zynq-based version of PFP Cybersecurity’s eMonitor (in the blue box)



Both test boards are based on Xilinx Spartan-3E FPGAs. The eMonitor’s only connection to the boards is the dc power cable. The good board has a known FPGA configuration, which produces this power fingerprint:



PFP Good Board Fingerprint.jpg



Note that all readings but one are green and below a nominal threshold line. As shown in this photo, the one red reading is not sufficient to invalidate the good board.


The second board is physically identical to the good board and has the same FPGA configuration but a free-running binary counter has been added to the FPGA configuration as an example of a “Trojan” or “virus.” This “bad” board produces this power fingerprint:



PFP Bad Board Fingerprint.jpg



As you can see, it’s extremely easy to tell difference between these nearly identical boards using PFP Cybersecurity's technology.








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