October 25, 2021

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EMFI for Safety-Critical Testing of Automotive Systems, by Colin O’Flynn

Electromagnetic Fault Injection (EMFI) is a well known method of introducing faults for security analysis of digital devices. Such faults can be seen as analogous to the faults which are known to naturally occur in digital devices, a known problem with designing safety-critical systems.

Numerous standards have been developed for safety-critical systems, including the development of standards for increasing the rate of naturally occurring faults using particle sources. In this work, we demonstrate that desktop EMFI tooling can be used to accomplish similar testing, but with more control, effectively speeding up the evaluation process. We demonstrate that using EMFI tooling for safety evaluation allows us to recreate a highly publicized safety issue present in an automotive ECU — one that could not easily be recreated previously with other techniques.