Locks on Microchips Could Deter Hardware Piracy

519722_key_lock.jpgComputer engineers at the University of Michigan and Rice University developed a way to deter hardware piracy. [link] Its a technique they call Ending Piracy of Integrated Circuits (EPIC).

Each chip is protected by the EPIC has a unique lock and key. The chip securely communicates with the chip’s patent holder to obtain a key to unlock itself. The chips only operate after being unlocked.

The EPIC technique uses established cryptography methods and introduces small changes in the chip design process. However, the chips’ performance or power consumption is reportedly not affected.

EPIC is not related to Electronic Privacy Information Center, and not enough information is provided to determine whether this technique raises privacy concerns.