Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2021/958

When the Decoder Has to Look Twice: Glitching a PUF Error Correction

Jonas Ruchti and Michael Gruber and Michael Pehl

Abstract: Physical Unclonable Functions (PUFs) have been increasingly used as an alternative to non-volatile memory for the storage of cryptographic secrets. Research on side channel and fault attacks with the goal of extracting these secrets has begun to gain interest but no fault injection attack targeting the necessary error correction within a PUF device has been shown so far. This work demonstrates one such attack on a hardware fuzzy commitment scheme implementation and thus shows a new potential attack threat existing in current PUF key storage systems. After presenting evidence for the overall viability of the profiled attack by performing it on an FPGA implementation, countermeasures are analysed: we discuss the efficacy of hashing helper data with the PUF-derived key to prevent the attack as well as codeword masking, a countermeasure effective against a side channel attack. The analysis shows the limits of these approaches. In particular, it demonstrates the criticality of timing in codeword masking by confirming the attack's effectiveness on ostensibly protected hardware.

Category / Keywords: implementation / physical unclonable function; fuzzy commitment scheme; fault attack; clock glitch; masking

Date: received 16 Jul 2021

Contact author: j ruchti at tum de, m pehl at tum de

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Note: Under review for publication.

Version: 20210722:090827 (All versions of this report)

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