Software patches deal with symptoms of system insecurity without addressing underlying hardware vulnerability. Left untouched, hardware weaknesses leave systems vulnerable to follow-on software-based exploits. To counter this, DARPA’s new System Security Integrated Through Hardware and Firmware (SSITH) program challenges researchers to design security directly at the hardware architecture level.
The overall goal of the SSITH program is to develop hardware design tools to provide inherent security against hardware vulnerabilities that are exploited through software in DoD and commercial electronic systems. SSITH aims to drive research required to develop secure hardware that constrains the hardware attack surface and protects against classes of software attacks that exploit hardware vulnerabilities.