The outsourcing of the manufacturing process of integrated circuits to fabrications plants all over the world has exposed these chips to several security threats, especially at the hardware level. There have been instances of malicious circuitry, such as backdoors, being added to circuits without the knowledge of the chip designers or vendors. Such threats could be immensely powerful and dangerous against confidentiality, among other vulnerabilities.

Defense mechanisms against such attacks have been probed and defense techniques have been developed. But with the passage of time, attack techniques have improved immensely as well. From directly observing the inputs or outputs, adversaries have tried, on multiple occasions, to extract data through other channels of data leakage, such as power, electromagnetic radiation and frequency, and have been very successful in doing so. This thesis investigates one such attack, known as hardware Trojan, where a ring oscillator is used as part of the Trojan to leak information regarding the logic value present at an internal circuit site through the frequency analysis of the power trace.

This thesis thus aims to expose a vulnerability of circuits, and also proposes a design technique to obfuscate the power trace to protect circuits against this kind of hardware threat. To test the efficacy of the Trojan, it is tested against power-related circuit protection mechanisms.

Degree Date

Fall 2018

Document Type


Degree Name



Electrical and Computer Engineering


Ping Gui

Second Advisor

Jennifer Dworak

Subject Area

Computer Engineering



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License