June 15, 2020: Brad Bailey, current Vice President of FirstPass Engineering’s Federal Division, has been tapped to lead the new Security Division. This new division is created to address a growing threat to the safety and integrity of ASIC and FPGA designs. Malicious actors have become increasingly skilled at inserting themselves, or their malicious code / hardware, into the actual design flows required to produce sophisticated ASIC and FPGA devices.

Bob Schneiderwind, CEO at FirstPass Engineering believes “Brad’s new role dovetails nicely with his current role due to the expected need for ASIC / FPGA Cyber-security services in DOD and Mil / Aero”.

Brad has been actively involved with IC development for more than 25 years, dealing with IC products ranging from glue logic PLDs to large complex ASICs. Brad has been emersed in high reliability space and defense, industrial automation, telecommunications, medical, commercial aerospace, and consumer electronics. Brad holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Arizona in Tucson.

More About ASIC / FPGA Cyber-Security

In recent years, increased security regarding the very design flow of ASICs and FPGAs has become necessary to counter a new and insidious form of bad-actor ‘hacking’. Threats to ASICs and FPGAs include ASIC Tampering, Intellectual Property Cloning / Theft, and the actual insertion of malicious hardware into designs under development, have become more common. In many cases, these threats must be implemented at the lowest layers of the design, often inserted into the actual ASIC and FPGA design flows. To counter these threats, FirstPass employs sophisticated counter-threat measures including strong ISO-compliant security at all levels in the organization as well as detailed Intellectual Property (IP) vetting, Integrated Circuit (IC) Camouflaging, Anti-tampering Layers, and Physically Unclonable functions (PUFs) to name a few.

About FirstPass Engineering

Incorporated in 1993, FirstPass Engineering (FPE) began with the goal of providing ASIC design services to the Mil/Aero marketplace. Company expertise soon expanded into commercial space and commercial devices.

From 2000 to 2005, FirstPass was a captive design house for Vitesse Semiconductor Corp., focusing on development of complex ASICs for the telecom market including Intelligent Switch Fabrics, PCI, and SATA type devices. FPE drove methodology improvements company-wide, especially in verification.

In 2005, FirstPass reincorporated as an independent design services company. FPE has enjoyed solid growth and has re-established t-itself as an outstanding provider of ASIC and FPGA design services.

FirstPass has remained ahead of the technology curve, maintaining our high level of expertise through the technical changes and advances in pre-silicon verification, tools, and methodologies.