Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Degree Level



Computer Science & Computer Engineering


Jia Di

Committee Member

Dale Thompson

Second Committee Member

James Parkerson

Third Committee Member

Jingxian Wu


Asset, Golden Reference, Hardware Trojan, Security


Due to the increasing complexity of hardware designs, third-party hardware Intellectual Property (IP) blocks are often incorporated in order to alleviate the burden on hardware designers. However, the prevalence use of third-party IPs has raised security concerns such as Trojans inserted by attackers. Hardware Trojans in these soft IPs are extremely difficult to detect through functional testing and no single detection methodology has been able to completely address this issue. Based on a Register-Transfer Level (RTL) and gate-level soft IP analysis method named Structural Checking, this dissertation presents a hardware Trojan detection methodology and tool by detailing the implementation of a Golden Reference Library for matching an unknown IP to a functionally similar Golden Reference. The matching result is quantified in percentages so that two different IPs with similar functions have a high percentage match. A match of the unknown IP to a whitelisted IP advances it to be identified with a known functionality while a match to a blacklisted IP causes it to be detected with Trojan. Examples are given on how this methodology can successfully identify hardware Trojans inserted in unknown third-party IPs. In addition to soft IPs analysis, Structural Checking provides data flow tracking capability to help users discover vulnerable nodes of the soft IPs. Structural Checking is implemented with a graphical user interface, so it does not take users much time to use the tool.