• Facts:
  • Project name: Foundations for Forgery-Resistant Security Hardware
  • Project acronym: UNIQUE
  • Project Coordinator: Technikon Forschungs- und Planungsgesellschaft mbH
  • Project start: September 1, 2009
  • Project duration: 2.5 years
  • UNIQUE webpage

Project is co-financed by European Comission
(under Seventh Framework Programme)


UNIQUE leaflet.pdf
476 KB

Project Partners:


Foundations for Forgery-Resistant Security Hardware

Mission of the project is to enforce the security and assurance of hardware components against malicious attacks of unauthorised parties.


Counterfeiting of goods and Intellectual Property (IP) has reached a level that threatens industrial production, organizational function, health systems and even national security when malicious elements are deployed for critical infrastructures. Nearly every industry area is using hardware chips to adopt security issues. In future the pharmaceutical area will use Integrated Circuit (IC) chips in the packaging material to prevent patients from taking faked. This problem can be avoided by using unclonable ICs in order to be able to clearly identify genuine drugs. Counterfeiting can damage the benefit and also the brand of legitimate producers so this would be a substantial loss for the supplier. The need of architectures which offer higher security in all kinds of hardware components is present. By using such innovative approaches the prevention of counterfeiting and the protection of IP will be enhanced. The development of these structures is still in its infancy and so the UNIQUE project will focus on its growth.


The UNIQUE project tends to increase the protection of hardware systems against the following security vulnerabilities:
  • Counterfeiting
  • Cloning
  • Tampering
  • Reverse engineering and
  • Insertion of malicious components.
In UNIQUE hardware-based cryptography and security building blocks, security architectures, protocols, algorithms, design and evaluation principles will be combined to mainly enhance embedded hardware components with security functionalities. The goal of the UNIQUE project is to develop solutions to the counterfeiting problem. These solutions need to be supported by strong, novel and consistent design and evaluation methods that have to ensure the security on each different level.
  • Application and deployment level: counterfeiting, verifiability, auditability and detection of malicious hardware.
  • Design and implementation level: sub-micron physical security primitives (primarily Physically Unclonable Functions, PUFs) and entanglement of cryptography and physics.
  • Evaluation level: cryptographic and security framework.

Project Results and Innovation:

The UNIQUE project will develop innovative concepts to make the state of the art of ICs and hardware components that provide cryptographic and security services more secure: Emerging technologies and innovation: In UNIQUE the new concept of the PUFs will be used to design novel hardware labeling and authentication mechanisms. Innovation: New hardware products with an enhanced assurance and security against counterfeiting and tampering can be developed by the novel tools, methodologies and principles. The UNIQUE project will step forward particularly in the application areas such as consumer electronics, automotive and avionic and pharmaceutical industries, critical infrastructures as well as governmental use. The most innovative aspect of the UNIQUE project is that the security of the explored primitives is implemented on physical instead of computational modules.


The UNIQUE consortium consists of three universities and five companies from six European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands). The expertises of the companies range from deep skills in security products, to the development of the architectural structure of test frameworks, to the full development of PUFs and a general high competance in the IT. The universities bring along the ability of requirement engineering, the know-how on needed hardware components, the development of secure cryptographic algorithms and protocols and the possibility to make performance and security tests.
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