Why Countermeasures Are Needed To Prevent Practical, Non-Invasive Attacks Against CNT-PUFs


A technical paper titled “Practical Non-Invasive Probing Attacks Against Novel Carbon-Nanotube-Based Physical Unclonable Functions” was published by researchers at University of Passau, Chemnitz University of Technology, Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems, and Technical University of Darmstad.


“As the number of devices being interconnected increases, so does also the demand for (lightweight) security. To this end, Physical Unclonable Functions (PUFs) have been proposed as hardware primitives that can act as roots of trust and security. Recently, a new type of PUF based on Carbon NanoTubes (CNTs) has been proposed. At the same time, attacks and testing based on direct electrical probing appear to be moving towards non-invasive techniques. In this context, this work attempts to examine the potential for practical non-invasive probing attacks against the CNT-PUF, a novel PUF based on CNTs. Our results indicate that direct probing might potentially compromise the security of this PUF. Nevertheless, we note that this holds true only in the case that the attacker can directly probe the wire corresponding to the secret value of each CNT-PUF cell. Thus, we can conclude that the examined CNT-PUFs are rather resilient to direct probing attacks, that non-invasive probing methods appear to be promising for testing such PUFs, and that, in order for the attacker to gain the full-length value of the secret, all the relevant channels would need to be probed. Nevertheless, as our work proves, practical non-invasive attacks against the CNT-PUF are feasible and adequate countermeasures need to be employed in order to address this issue.”

Find the technical paper here. Published: July 2023 (preprint)

Anagnostopoulos, Nikolaos Athanasios, Alexander Braml, Nico Mexis, Florian Frank, Simon Böttger, Martin Hartmann, Sascha Hermann, Elif Bilge Kavun, Stefan Katzenbeisser, and Tolga Arul. “Practical Non-Invasive Probing Attacks Against Novel Carbon-Nanotube-Based Physical Unclonable Functions.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2307.01041 (2023).

Related Reading
Physically Unclonable Functions (PUFs) Knowledge Center

Leave a Reply

(Note: This name will be displayed publicly)