Concealed Data Exchange via Temperature Manipulation in FPGA Systems

Abdirahman A. A., Hashi A. O., Dahir U. M., Elmi M. A., Rodriguez O. E. R.

SSRG International Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering, vol.10, no.8, pp.127-136, 2023 (Scopus) identifier


In the realm of contemporary computing, Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) have become a key enabler for a myriad of applications due to their flexibility, reconfigurability, and parallel processing capabilities. These reprogrammable devices have found extensive use in high-performance computing, embedded systems, signal processing, networking, and numerous other domains. However, as FPGA technology advances and becomes increasingly integrated into critical systems, concerns surrounding security vulnerabilities have surfaced, necessitating in-depth research to safeguard sensitive information and data integrity. This paper investigates the utilization of temperature-based covert channels within FPGA systems, focusing on their potential for concealed data transmission. Through meticulous experimentation and analysis, we establish the viabili ty of encoding and transmitting data via controlled temperature fluctuations. Innovative thermal transmitters and receivers, coupled with advanced decoding techniques, demonstrate the effectiveness of this unique communication paradigm. Our results highlight successful data retrieval and communication reliability in various internal and external scenarios. This research contributes to understanding thermal covert channels, offering insights into enhancing FPGA system security. By unlocking the capabilities of temperature-based covert communication, this study sets the stage for further advancements in secure and discreet data transmission within FPGA systems.