Industrial Insights PUF Technology

PUF Series 1: SRAM PUF is Increasingly Vulnerable

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As semiconductor technology advances, SRAM is becoming outmoded as a reliable PUF security solution.

With the onset of the 5G era, security is a major concern as billions of devices are connected to networks each year, making security indispensable at the same time as vulnerability increases. Hardware security solutions are crucial as the most fundamental method for preventing attacks. For this reason, a reliable root of trust at the semiconductor level is a must for protecting systems against hacking.

Many solutions for finding or creating a root of trust exist in the market. Among them, the use of a PUF (Physically Unclonable Function) on a chip has drawn the most attention due to its unique features and characteristics such as randomness. However, to be the root of trust and seed for security over the lifetime of an electronic device, reliability, in terms of ambient variations such as power, temperature, noise, interference, etc., is imperative.

Concerns Surrounding SRAM PUF

An SRAM PUF is enabled by a local mismatch between the threshold voltage in a pair of MOSFETs to generate a positive feedback loop. The slight differences caused by the mismatch characteristics will be amplified and divided into 0 or 1 and stored in SRAM. A random value of either 0 or 1 results from the variations of the threshold voltage in the MOSFETs.

However, the stability of an SRAM PUF’s extracted random value is seriously impacted by the following factors…

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