I see an IC: A mixed-methods approach to study human problem-solving processes in hardware reverse engineering

René Walendy, Markus Weber, Jingjie Li, Steffen Becker, Carina Wiesen, Malte Elson, Younghyun Kim, Kassem Fawaz, Nikol Rummel, Christof Paar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Trust in digital systems depends on secure hardware, often assured through HRE. This work develops methods for investigating human problem-solving processes in HRE, an underexplored yet critical aspect. Since reverse engineers rely heavily on visual information, eye tracking holds promise for studying their cognitive processes. To gain further insights, we additionally employ verbal thought protocols during and immediately after HRE tasks: Concurrent and Retrospective Think Aloud. We evaluate the combination of eye tracking and Think Aloud with 41 participants in an HRE simulation. Eye tracking accurately identifies fixations on individual circuit elements and highlights critical components. Based on two use cases, we demonstrate that eye tracking and Think Aloud can complement each other to improve data quality. Our methodological insights can inform future studies in HRE, a specific setting of human-computer interaction, and in other problem-solving settings involving misleading or missing information.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
EditorsFlorian Floyd Mueller, Penny Kyburz, Julie R. Williamson, Corina Sas, Max L. Wilson, Phoebe Toups Dugas, Irina Shklovski
PublisherACM
Pages1-20
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9798400703300
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2024
EventACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2024
- Honolulu, United States
Duration: 11 May 202416 May 2024
https://chi2024.acm.org/

Conference

ConferenceACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2024
Abbreviated titleCHI 2024
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityHonolulu
Period11/05/2416/05/24
Internet address

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • hardware reverse engineering
  • integrated circuits
  • eye tracking
  • think aloud
  • mixed-methods
  • problem solving
  • semiconductor industry

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