RRAM-based PUF: design and applications in cryptography
The recent flurry of security breaches have raised serious concerns about the security of data communication and storage. A promising way to enhance the security of the system is through physical root of trust, such as, through use of physical unclonable functions (PUF). PUF leverages the inherent randomness in physical systems to provide device specific authentication and encryption.
In this thesis, first the design of a highly reliable resistive random access memory (RRAM) PUF is presented. Compared to existing 1 cell/bit RRAM, here the sum of the read-out currents of multiple RRAM cells are used for generating one response bit. This method statistically minimizes any early-lifetime failure due to RRAM retention degradation at high temperature or under voltage stress. Using a device model that was calibrated using IMEC HfOx RRAM experimental data, it was shown that an 8 cells/bit architecture achieves 99.9999% reliability for a lifetime >10 years at 125℃ . Also, the hardware area overhead of the proposed 8 cells/bit RRAM PUF architecture was smaller than 1 cell/bit RRAM PUF that requires error correction coding to achieve the same reliability.
Next, a basic security primitive is presented, where the RRAM PUF is embedded in the cryptographic module, SHA-256. This architecture is referred to as Embedded PUF or EPUF. EPUF has a security advantage over SHA-256 as it never exposes the PUF response to the outside world. Instead, in each round, the PUF response is used to change a few bits of the message word to produce a unique message digest for each IC. The use of EPUF as a key generation module for AES is also shown. The hardware area requirement for SHA-256 and AES-128 is then analyzed using synthesis results based on TSMC 65nm library. It is shown that the area overhead of 8 cells/bit RRAM PUF is only 1.08% of the SHA-256 module and 0.04% of the AES-128 module. The security analysis of the PUF based systems is also presented. It is shown that the EPUF-based systems are resistant towards standard attacks on PUFs, and that the security of the cryptographic modules is not compromised.