A data remanence based approach to generate 100% stable keys from an SRAM physical unclonable function

Muqing Liu, Chen Zhou, Qianying Tang, Keshab K. Parhi, Chris H. Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

The start-up value of an SRAM cell is unique, random, and unclonable as it is determined by the inherent process mismatch between transistors. These properties make SRAM an attractive circuit for generating encryption keys. The primary challenge for SRAM based key generation, however, is the poor stability when the circuit is subject to random noise, temperature and voltage changes, and device aging. Temporal majority voting (TMV) and bit masking were used in previous works to identify and store the location of unstable or marginally stable SRAM cells. However, TMV requires a long test time and significant hardware resources. In addition, the number of repetitive power-ups required to find the most stable cells is prohibitively high. To overcome the shortcomings of TMV, we propose a novel data remanence based technique to detect SRAM cells with the highest stability for reliable key generation. This approach requires only two remanence tests: Writing '1' (or '0') to the entire array and momentarily shutting down the power until a few cells flip. We exploit the fact that the cells that are easily flipped are the most robust cells when written with the opposite data. The proposed method is more effective in finding the most stable cells in a large SRAM array than a TMV scheme with 1,000 power-up tests. Experimental studies show that the 256-bit key generated from a 512 kbit SRAM using the proposed data remanence method is 100% stable under different temperatures, power ramp up times, and device aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationISLPED 2017 - IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Low Power Electronics and Design
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781509060238
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 11 2017
Event22nd IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Low Power Electronics and Design, ISLPED 2017 - Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China
Duration: Jul 24 2017Jul 26 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Symposium on Low Power Electronics and Design
ISSN (Print)1533-4678

Other

Other22nd IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Low Power Electronics and Design, ISLPED 2017
CountryTaiwan, Province of China
CityTaipei
Period7/24/177/26/17

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under award number CNS-1441639 and the Semiconductor Research Corporation under contract number 2014-TS-2560.

Keywords

  • Physical unclonable function
  • SRAM
  • data remanence
  • stable key generation

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