• Facts:
    • Project name: Holistic Approaches for Integrity of ICT-Systems
    • Project acronym: HINT
    • Project Coordinator: Technikon Forschungs- und Planungsgesellschaft mbH
    • Project start: October 2012
    • Project duration: 3 years

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement n° 317930


Project Partners:


Holistic Approaches for Integrity of ICT-Systems


Mission of HINT:

      • Is to develop a solution to implement a common framework for a system’s integrity checking based on Trusted Computing technologies.
      • Is to demonstrate the capabilities of the developed technologies on real-life applications.
      • Is to prepare the adoption of the proposed technologies by future
        Common Criteria evaluation schemes.



      Modern ICT (Information and Communication Technologies)systems involve complex schemes like in homeland security markets (avionics, critical infrastructures, SCADA systems, cyber security, RFIDs…), embedded systems (health, transport, defence, consumer electronics, telecommunication…), smart cards (bank cards, ID cards, Pay TV cards, transportation, (U) SIM…) and personal identity technologies (passports or travel documents…). The security of such systems, which relies on the authenticity and integrity of the hardware components used to implement them, is continuously challenged by improving attacks. Hence new methods for testing the authenticity & integrity of those hardware devices must be sought. Physical attacks, based on the passive or active spying of those devices, are ‘proven’ ways of retrieving secret data out of them. Today’s security circuits offer protections against these attacks, but an absolute protection is not possible in practice and the need of extra barriers arises, especially with the growing concerns about the fact that:

      • counterfeiting of hardware components is dramatically increasing, with approximately 5-20% of counterfeited components on the market.
      • the threat of “Trojans” or hidden functions in Integrated Circuits (IC) is moving from theory to practice. The HINT project addresses these new challenges by proposing the development of novel technologies to verify that a system is a genuine and non-modified one. Those technologies shall help to support assurance of authenticity and integrity of the hardware components used in a given system.



      Secure architectures and platforms, where secure storage and computations are managed by hardware components, have shown their efficiency for many applications, from user’s identification and authentication (e-id, banking cards), to ensuring the security of more complex systems (HSM, SAM, TPM, root of trust). However, even if the security of such tamper proof (or tamper resistant) integrated circuits is better than any other solution, some weaknesses still exist. The HINT project addresses these problems and intends to develop technologies enabling to:

      • perform “on board” integrated checking of the global integrity of a system (hardware and embedded software)
      • check the “genuineness” of the secure integrated circuits (detection of functional clones or of counterfeited circuits), using PUF-based authentication schemes and
      • detect the presence of Hardware Trojans. To achieve those goals, the HINT project will focus on some specific technologies like:
      • the PUF technology, enabling to authenticate a given hardware component using a physical, intrinsic and unique signature of the device.
      • SCA (Side Channel Analysis) based analysis to monitor the behaviour of hardware components and to detect changes from their original specifications and implementations.



    The HINT project brings together leading European industrial companies, leading European research companies, an European research oriented SME as well as a high esteemed university from Europe. The seven project partners from 4 different countries (Austria, France, Belgium, Germany) form a complete chain stretching from basic research and service design, via applied research, up to end-user oriented service providers. In addition to these partners a third party linked to ARMINES, namely ‚Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de St Etienne‘ supports the consortium. We have a small but well balanced and very focused consortium, which is strongly oriented in obtaining the results expected from the project. Overall opinion is that this mixture of multinationals, SMEs and world-class research organisations constitutes the optimal consortium to achieve the given innovation objectives.
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