Thesis Details

Analysis of attacks on (micro)chips and development of enhancement of their robustness/security

Ph.D. Thesis Student: Malčík Dominik Academic Year: 2020/2021 Supervisor: Drahanský Martin, prof. Ing., Dipl.-Ing., Ph.D.
Czech title
Analýza útoků na (mikro)čipy a návrh zvýšení jejich odolnosti/bezpečnosti

Nowadays, microchips are used virtually everywhere, from simple home devices to confidential military equipment. In many scenarios, sensitive data is being processed by these devices. For example, in the case of electronic personal documents, fingerprints, facial images, and personal data are processed by the chip; and in some cases also iris images. Auditing proclaimed functions and a level of security of such microchips is becoming a valued service. In this doctoral thesis, we present an experimentally proven process for the microscopic analysis of chips, feasible in a low-cost setup. The described process was demonstrated on a chip acquired from the Czech biometric passport - from extracting the chip out of the plastic card up to analysis of the acquired microscopic images. We investigated and evaluated various potentially viable methods for logic element recognition; without the employment of machine-learning. Additionally, hardware-oriented attacks are discussed and followed by proposals for countermeasures leading to the hindering of microscopic analysis.


Microchip, chip, chip package, deprocessing, dry etching, wet etching, security analysis of chips, microscopic analysis, SmartMX, MIFARE Classic.

Degree Programme
Reason for publication postponement

The publication of the Doctoral Degree's thesis is in accordance with the provision of § 47b par. 4 of the Act no. 111/1998 Coll., about universities and about the change and supplementing other laws (Higher Education Act), as amended, delayed by 3 years. The reason for the delay of the publication is the protection of intellectual property and the fact that the Doctoral Degree's thesis contains business secret in the sense of the relevant provisions of the Act no. 89/2012 Coll., Civil Code and the need for protection under the Act no. 121/2000 Coll. on Copyright, Rights Related to Copyright and on the Amendment of Certain Laws (Copyright Act).

25 November 2020
MALČÍK, Dominik. Analysis of attacks on (micro)chips and development of enhancement of their robustness/security. Brno, 2020. Ph.D. Thesis. Brno University of Technology, Faculty of Information Technology. 2020-11-25. Supervised by Drahanský Martin. Available from:
    author = "Dominik Mal\v{c}\'{i}k",
    type = "Ph.D. thesis",
    title = "Analysis of attacks on (micro)chips and development of enhancement of their robustness/security",
    school = "Brno University of Technology, Faculty of Information Technology",
    year = 2020,
    location = "Brno, CZ",
    language = "english",
    url = ""
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