Paper 2015/760

Investigating SRAM PUFs in large CPUs and GPUs

Pol Van Aubel, Daniel J. Bernstein, and Ruben Niederhagen


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.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Published elsewhere. Major revision. To appear: Proceedings of SPACE 2015
Physically unclonable functionsSRAM PUFsrandomnesshardware identification.
Contact author(s)
eprint @ polvanaubel com
2015-07-31: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Pol Van Aubel and Daniel J.  Bernstein and Ruben Niederhagen},
      title = {Investigating {SRAM} {PUFs} in large {CPUs} and {GPUs}},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2015/760},
      year = {2015},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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