Researchers, led by Indian-origin engineer, Siddharth Garg, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering have developed chip to spot viruses. The chip developed can identify and fix the Trojan horses, which threaten to sabotage various services such as healthcare devices, public infrastructure, and financial, military, or government electronics. The chip designers say that this arrangement is intended to provide a safety net for both the chip maker and the end user. While software viruses are easy to spot and fix with downloadable patches, deliberately inserted hardware defects are invisible and act surreptitiously. Under the system proposed by the Indian-origin engineer and his colleagues, the verifying processor can be fabricated separately from the chip. “Employing an external verification unit made by a trusted fabricator means that I can go to an un-trusted foundry to produce a chip that has not only the circuitry-performing computations, but also a module that presents proofs of correctness”, says Garg describing his invention. An added advantage is that the chip built by the external foundry is smaller, faster, and more power-efficient than the trusted ASIC, sometimes by orders of magnitude. The VC setup can therefore potentially reduce the time, energy, and chip area needed to generate proofs. “For certain types of computations, it can even outperform the alternative: performing the computation directly on a trusted chip,” Garg said. The researchers’ next plan to investigate techniques to reduce both the overhead that generating and verifying proofs imposes on a system and the bandwidth required between the prover and verifier chips. “And because with hardware, the proof is always in the pudding, we plan to prototype our ideas with real silicon chips,” said Garg.