Cybersecurity and advanced technologies redefine semiconductor industry – Organiser

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Electronic devices are an essential feature of modern life, and the semiconductor chips that power them are the key to their functionality. These chips are crucial components, enabling everything from phones to energy grids to operate smoothly. However, to work at their best, they need to be secure and free of vulnerabilities, and this has become an increasingly pressing concern.

Hardware cyberattacks often happen because of unnoticed weaknesses in the semiconductor design process or firmware. These attacks can come at different points in the product life cycle and cause issues like chip malfunction, denial of service, and the exposure of sensitive information. Sometimes, even well-made hardware vulnerabilities can be hard to detect because of the complexity of microelectronics.

The semiconductor industry is at risk of cyber threats that can compromise its devices’ confidentiality, integrity, and availability. These threats include hardware trojans, supply chain attacks, reverse engineering, and intellectual property theft. Semiconductor manufacturers and vendors must establish a robust incident response plan to handle cybersecurity incidents efficiently.

Cybersecurity can transform the semiconductor industry in many ways. Here are some of them:

Hardware security: Hardware security is a critical aspect of cybersecurity in the semiconductor industry. To design an overall secure system, software security alone is not sufficient. There are many aspects of security that need to be enforced at the hardware level. In a secure design, each module involved must be secured, but it cannot be done in isolation. There is a need for a trusted security handshake between different modules.

Counterfeit chips: Counterfeit chips are a concern for national security. As per the “Defense Industry Base Assessment: Counterfeit Electronics” report , 55% of integrated circuit (IC) manufacturers surveyed reported that they had encountered counterfeit versions of their products. Such counterfeit chips may carry viruses or malware that can weaken national security. To address this issue, Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has created an Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force.

IoT Security: The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the important contributors to the growth of the semiconductor industry. Due to its pervasive nature and relatively weak security, IoT devices present an extremely valuable target for attackers, and hence there is a strong need to protect these devices. Insecure internal interfaces could lead to system-level exploits such as Bleeding Bit, where malicious advertising packets (BLE broadcast messages) overflow the firmware stack, allowing an attacker to gain control of the chip.

Architecture and design for security: Architecture and design for security focuses on security by design and recommends splitting the system into various intercommunicating subsystems with appropriate privilege set.

Cybersecurity framework: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a cybersecurity framework that provides guidance on how organisations can manage and reduce cybersecurity risk. The framework consists of five core functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. Semiconductor companies can use this framework to develop their own cybersecurity programs.

Cybersecurity risk rating service: SEMI Semiconductor Cyber Security Risk Rating Service is a ‘foundation for cybersecurity assessment’ inspired by the cybersecurity framework of NIST in the United States, covering common security practices to serve as a standard template that familiarises the semiconductor ecosystem with security maturity assessment and benchmarking, so as to create a unique competitive edge for your business!

Dynamic disruptions: Semiconductor leaders are navigating an increasingly complex and unpredictable market environment, compounded by various new technology catalysts. This creates a phenomenon characterised by continuous and overlapping disruptions, which necessitates alignment around a transformation North Star. With the ongoing dynamic disruption across the semiconductor industry, companies should establish a clear end-state vision for their transformation and not try to jump ahead without a complete and aligned plan.

New frontiers: Sales and marketing organizations inside semiconductor companies are often pushing the transformation agenda, which is largely focused on expanding into new technology-driven markets and gaining a competitive edge and market share. The key technologies driving business transformation include integrated artificial intelligence, edge computing, 5G communications, and IoT products and/or services.

Innovative models: Innovative models are being developed in response to changing market conditions and customer needs. These models include new business models such as pay-per-use or subscription-based pricing models.

Digital proliferation: Digital proliferation refers to the increasing use of digital technologies across all aspects of business operations. This includes digital manufacturing processes, digital supply chain management systems, and digital marketing strategies.

Big Data Analytics transforming the Semiconductor Industry

Big Data Analytics has become an essential part of the semiconductor industry. It helps organisations to get a better understanding of their customers, business processes, and helps organisations to narrow down their targeted audience, thus improving the marketing campaign of companies. Big Data Analytics in the semiconductor industry is used to analyse large amounts of data to uncover hidden patterns, correlations, and other insights.

The analysis tools commonly used for Big Data Analytics include SQL queries, data mining, statistical analysis, fact clustering, data visualisation, natural language processing, text analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI). The key factors impacting the growth of the global Big Data Analytics and semiconductor & electronics market include surge in adoption of Big Data Analytics software by various organisations to facilitate enhanced and faster decision-making and to provide competitive advantage by analysing and acting upon information in a timely manner.

In addition, numerous benefits provided by Big Data and business analytics such as faster data processing positively impacts the growth of the Big Data Analytics in semiconductor and electronics market.

Big data analytics can transform the semiconductor industry in many ways such as:

Predictive maintenance: Big Data Analytics can help semiconductor companies to predict when equipment is likely to fail, allowing them to perform maintenance before a failure occurs. This can help companies to reduce downtime and improve productivity.

Yield optimisation: Big Data Analytics can help semiconductor companies to optimise their manufacturing processes by identifying patterns in data that can be used to improve yield.

Quality control: Big Data Analytics can help semiconductor companies to improve their quality control processes by identifying patterns in data that can be used to detect defects and other issues.

Supply chain optimisation: Big Data Analytics can help semiconductor companies to optimise their supply chains by identifying patterns in data that can be used to improve inventory management, reduce lead times, and improve delivery times.

Marketing campaigns: Big Data Analytics can help semiconductor companies to improve their marketing campaigns by analysing customer data and identifying patterns that can be used to target specific customers with specific products.

Sales forecasting: Big Data Analytics can help semiconductor companies to forecast sales by analysing historical sales data and identifying patterns that can be used to predict future sales.

Product development: Big Data Analytics can help semiconductor companies to develop new products by analysing customer feedback and identifying patterns that can be used to design new products that meet customer needs.

Nanotechnology transforming the Semiconductor Industry

Nanotechnology has significantly impacted the semiconductor industry, enabling the production of transistors that are just a few nanometers in size. While the miniaturisation of electronic components has resulted in higher transistor densities, it has also increased heat generation.

Nanotechnology is now the key area of technology to create and manipulate materials at the nanometre (nm or 10-9m) scale either by bottom up from single groups of atoms to bulk matter or by top down which is reducing bulk materials to a group of atoms.

It is being used or considered for use for fabricating and constructing many efficient electronic devices which have extremely large surface area to volume ratio, this makes a large number of surface or interfacial atoms, resulting in more surface dependent material properties specially this technology is used in semiconductor industry or solar cell industry.

Nanotechnology can transform Semiconductor Industry in many ways such as:

Improved performance: Nanotechnology can help improve the performance of semiconductors by making them smaller and more efficient. This can lead to faster processing speeds, lower power consumption, and better battery life for electronic devices.

Increased storage capacity: Nanotechnology can also help increase the storage capacity of semiconductors by allowing more data to be stored in a smaller space. This can lead to more compact and powerful electronic devices.

New materials: Nanotechnology has enabled the development of new materials that can be used in semiconductors. For example, carbon nanotubes and graphene are being explored as potential replacements for silicon in transistors.

Better heat management: Nanotechnology can also help improve heat management in semiconductors. By using nanoscale materials, it is possible to create more efficient cooling systems that can dissipate heat more effectively.

New manufacturing techniques: Finally, nanotechnology has enabled new manufacturing techniques that can be used to produce semiconductors more efficiently and at a lower cost. For example, IBM recently unveiled a breakthrough in semiconductor design and process with the development of the world’s first chip announced with 2 nanometer (nm) nanosheet technology.

This new chip technology helps advance the state-of-the-art in the semiconductor industry, addressing growing demand for increased chip performance and energy efficiency.

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