Key Recovery for Content Protection Using Ternary PUFs Designed with Pre-Formed ReRAM

Researchers from Northern Arizona University examine how ReRAM based solutions perform against SRAM PUF-based schemes in terms of BERs and tamper resistance. Funded by U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).




“Physical unclonable functions, embedded in terminal devices, can be used as part of the recovery process of session keys that protect digital files. Such an approach is only valuable when the physical element offers sufficient tamper resistance. Otherwise, error correcting codes should be able to handle any variations arising from aging, and environmentally induced drifts of the terminal devices. The ternary cryptographic protocols presented in this paper, leverage the physical properties of resistive random-access memories operating at extremely low power in the pre-forming range to create an additional level of security, while masking the most unstable cells during key generation cycles. The objective is to reach bit error rates below the 10−3 range from elements subjected to drifts and environmental effects. We propose replacing the error correcting codes with light search engines, that use ciphertexts as helper data to reduce information leakage. The tamper-resistant schemes discussed in the paper include: (i) a cell-pairing differential method to hide the physical parameters; (ii) an attack detection system and a low power self-destruct mode; (iii) a multi-factor authentication, information control, and a one-time read-only function. In the experimental section, we describe how prototypes were fabricated to test and quantify the performance of the suggested methods, using static random access memory devices as the benchmark.”

Find the open access technical paper here. Published Feb. 2022.

Cambou, B.F.; Jain, S. Key Recovery for Content Protection Using Ternary PUFs Designed with Pre-Formed ReRAM. Appl. Sci. 2022, 12, 1785. https://doi.org/10.3390/app12041785.

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