Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2015/760

Investigating SRAM PUFs in large CPUs and GPUs

Pol Van Aubel and Daniel J. Bernstein and Ruben Niederhagen

Abstract: Physically unclonable functions (PUFs) provide data that can be used for cryptographic purposes: on the one hand randomness for the initialization of random-number generators; on the other hand individual fingerprints for unique identification of specific hardware components. However, today's off-the-shelf personal computers advertise randomness and individual fingerprints only in the form of additional or dedicated hardware.

This paper introduces a new set of tools to investigate whether intrinsic PUFs can be found in PC components that are not advertised as containing PUFs. In particular, this paper investigates AMD64 CPU registers as potential PUF sources in the operating-system kernel, the bootloader, and the system BIOS; investigates the CPU cache in the early boot stages; and investigates shared memory on Nvidia GPUs. This investigation found non-random non-fingerprinting behavior in several components but revealed usable PUFs in Nvidia GPUs.

Category / Keywords: implementation / Physically unclonable functions, SRAM PUFs, randomness, hardware identification.

Original Publication (with major differences): To appear: Proceedings of SPACE 2015

Date: received 30 Jul 2015

Contact author: eprint at polvanaubel com

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Version: 20150731:112501 (All versions of this report)

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