Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2016/898

Physical Unclonable Functions based on Temperature Compensated Ring Oscillators

Sha Tao and Elena Dubrova

Abstract: Physical unclonable functions (PUFs) are promising hardware security primitives suitable for low-cost cryptographic applications.Ring oscillator (RO) PUF is a well-received silicon PUF solution due to its ease of implementation and entropy evaluation. However, the responses of RO-PUFs are susceptible to environmental changes, in particular, to temperature variations. Additionally, a conventional RO-PUF implementation is usually more power-hungry than other PUF alternatives. This paper explores circuit-level techniques to design low-power RO-PUFs with enhanced thermal stability. We introduce a power-efficient approach based on a phase/frequency detector (PFD) to perform pairwise comparisons of ROs. We also propose a temperature compensated bulk-controlled oscillator and investigate its feasibility and usage in PFD-based RO-PUFs. Evaluation results demonstrate that the proposed techniques can effectively reduce the thermally induced errors in PUF responses while imposing a very low power overhead.

Category / Keywords: implementation / Physical unclonable function (PUF), delay-based PUF, RO-PUF, temperature variation, hardware security, device authentication.

Date: received 14 Sep 2016, last revised 14 Sep 2016

Contact author: stao at kth se

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Version: 20160914:152551 (All versions of this report)

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