Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Feed-Forward XOR Physical Unclonable Functions

S. V.Sandeep Avvaru, Ziqing Zeng, Keshab K. Parhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Physical unclonable functions (PUFs) are hardware security primitives that are used for device authentication and cryptographic key generation. Standard XOR PUFs typically contain multiple standard arbiter PUFs as components, and are more secure than standard arbiter PUFs or feed-forward (FF) arbiter PUFs (FF PUFs). This paper proposes design of feed-forward XOR PUFs (FFXOR PUFs) where each component PUF is a FF PUF. Various homogeneous and heterogeneous FFXOR PUFs are presented and evaluated in terms of four fundamental properties of PUFs: uniqueness, attack-resistance, reliability and randomness. Certain key issues pertaining to XOR PUFs such as their vulnerability to machine learning attacks and instability in responses are investigated. Other important challenges like the lack of uniqueness in FF PUFs and the asymmetry in FPGA arbiter PUFs are addressed and it is shown that FFXOR PUFs can naturally overcome these problems. It is shown that heterogeneous FFXOR PUFs (i.e., FFXOR PUFs with non-identical components) can be resilient to state-of-the-art machine learning attacks. We also present systematic reliability analysis of FFXOR PUFs and demonstrate that soft-response thresholding can be used as an effective countermeasure to overcome the degraded reliability bottleneck. Observations from simulations are further verified through hardware implementation of 64-bit FFXOR PUFs on Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8963980
Pages (from-to)2485-2498
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2005-2012 IEEE.


  • Hardware security
  • arbiter PUF
  • attack-resistance
  • feed-forward PUF
  • heterogeneous
  • homogeneous
  • randomness
  • reliability
  • security
  • uniqueness


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