Paper 2019/534

Theoretical and Practical Approaches for Hardness Amplification of PUFs

Fatemeh Ganji, Shahin Tajik, Pascal Stauss, Jean-Pierre Seifert, Domenic Forte, and Mark Tehranipoor


The era of PUFs has been characterized by the efforts put into research and the development of PUFs that are robust against attacks, in particular, machine learning (ML) attacks. In the lack of systematic and provable methods for this purpose, we have witnessed the ever-continuing competition between PUF designers/ manufacturers, cryptanalysts, and of course, adversaries that maliciously break the security of PUFs. This is despite a series of acknowledged principles developed in cryptography and complexity theory, under the umbrella term ``hardness amplification." The goal of studies on the hardness amplification is to build a strongly secure construction out of considerably weaker primitives. This paper aims at narrowing the gap between these studies and hardware security, specifically for applications in the domain of PUFs. To this end, we first review an example of practical efforts made to construct more secure PUFs, namely the concept of rolling PUFs. Based on what can be learned from this and central insights provided by the ML and complexity theory, we propose a new PUF-based scheme built around the idea of using a new function, namely, the Tribes function, which combines the outputs of a set of PUFs to generate the final response. Our theoretical findings are discussed in an exhaustive manner and supported by the results of experiments, conducted extensively on real-world PUFs.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
Hardness AmplificationComplexity TheoryFPGA SecurityPhysically Unclonable Function
Contact author(s)
fganji @ ufl edu
2019-05-22: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Fatemeh Ganji and Shahin Tajik and Pascal Stauss and Jean-Pierre Seifert and Domenic Forte and Mark Tehranipoor},
      title = {Theoretical and Practical Approaches for Hardness Amplification of {PUFs}},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2019/534},
      year = {2019},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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