2008 Volume E91.A Issue 1 Pages 211-220
By diversifying processor architecture, computer software is expected to be more resistant to plagiarism, analysis, and attacks. This study presents a new method to diversify instruction set architecture (ISA) by utilizing the redundancy in the instruction set. Our method is particularly suited for embedded systems implemented with FPGA technology, and realizes a genuine instruction set randomization, which has not been provided by the preceding studies. The evaluation results on four typical ISAs indicate that our scheme can provide a far larger degree of freedom than the preceding studies. Diversified processors based on MIPS architecture were actually implemented and evaluated with Xilinx Spartan-3 FPGA. The increase of logic scale was modest: 5.1% in Specialized design and 3.6% in RAM-mapped design. The performance overhead was also modest: 3.4% in Specialized design and 11.6% in RAM-mapped design. From these results, our scheme is regarded as a practical and promising way to secure FPGA-based embedded systems.