Integrated circuits may be vulnerable to hardware Trojan attacks during its design or fabrication phases. This article is a case study of the design of a Viterbi decoder and the effect of hardware Trojans on a coded communication system employing the Viterbi decoder. Design of a Viterbi decoder and possible hardware Trojan models for the same are proposed. An FPGA-based implementation of the decoder and the associated Trojan circuits have been discussed. The noise-added encoded input data stream is stored in the block RAM of the FPGA and the decoded data stream is monitored on the PC through an universal asynchronous receiver transmitter interface. The implementation results show that there is barely any change in the LUTs used (0.5%) and power dissipation (3%) due to the insertion of the proposed Trojan circuits, thus establishing the surreptitious nature of the Trojan. In spite of the fact that the Trojans cause negligible changes in the circuit parameters, there are significant changes in the bit error rate (BER) due to the presence of Trojans. In the absence of Trojans, BER drops down to zero for signal to noise rations (SNRs) higher than 6 dB, but with the presence of Trojans, BER doesn't reduce to zero even at a very high SNRs. This is true even with the Trojan being activated only once during the entire duration of the transmission. © 2020 Kakkara et al.