50% hacker, 50% engineer; French start-up offers IC security analysis

November 30, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
French start-up, Texplained (Sophia Antipolis, Cote d’Azur) has opened a lab to offer, “fast and in-depth” analyses of integrated circuit security. Texplained aims to help companies and government organisations protect their chips and products against counterfeiting and piracy.

Olivier Thomas, CEO and Head of Hardware Security at Texplained says “Microchips are extremely vulnerable to security threats... more vulnerable than ever before because the sheer volume of products which have integrated circuits is increasing exponentially... in parallel, microchip hackers are constantly mastering new microchip technologies and attacking their security.”


"We approach, assess and solve IC security issues with a different mindset – half hacker, half engineer with electronics knowledge. Armed with this unique mindset and the latest laboratory technologies, our pioneering ‘savoir-faire’ enables us to solve our clients’ IC security issues on a worldwide basis.”


Texplained provides its clients with services across the whole IC security value chain including auditing the security of integrated circuits, backdoor research and IP infringement investigation. Texplained’s clients include SoC manufacturers, government organisations and systems integrators that integrate chips into their products. Texplained believes that it is one of the only companies in the market to specialise solely in IC reverse engineering and security.


Building a new lab in-house enables Texplained to reverse engineer chips and analyse the integrated circuits using the latest imaging and deprocessing technologies. The process involves removing the five to 20 layers of metal and oxide that typically make up a microchip. This requires the highly-skilled implementation of a combination of different chemical and mechanical processes. After the delayering, Texplained scans images of these microscopic layers with a scanning electron microscope. The Texplained team then uses its proprietary ARES ‘automated reverse engineering software’ to analyse the images of the circuits on each layer.


Texplained’s new lab provides clients with a greater depth of analysis more quickly and cost-effectively. With Texplained housing all the technologies and processes for microchip analysis in its new lab, clients can enjoy more security and flexibility as they now no longer have to outsource their microchip analysis to multiple partners to obtain reliable results.


Texplained; www.texplained.com