Modeling attack resistant strong physical unclonable functions : design and applications

Date

2019-06-13

Authors

Xi, Xiaodan

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Abstract

Physical unclonable functions (PUFs) have great promise as hardware authentication primitives due to their physical unclonability, high resistance to reverse engineering, and difficulty of mathematical cloning. Strong PUFs are distinguished by an exponentially large number of challenge-response pairs (CRPs), in contrast with weak PUFs that have a smaller CRP set. Because the adversary cannot create an enumeration clone by recording all CRPs even when in physical possession of a PUF, strong PUFs enable secure direct authentication, that does not require cryptography and are thus attractive to low-energy and IoT applications. The first contribution of this dissertation is the design of a strong silicon PUF resistant to machine learning (ML) attacks. For a strong PUF to be an effective security primitive, the CRPs need to be unpredictable: given a set of known CRPs, it should be difficult to predict the unobserved CRPs. Otherwise, an adversary can succeed in an attack based on building a model of the PUF. Early strong PUFs have shown vulnerability to ML based attacks. We take advantage of the strongly nonlinear I -- V property of MOSFETs operating in subthreshold region to introduce a highly unpredictable PUF. The PUF, termed the subthreshold current array PUF (SCA-PUF), consists of a pair of two-dimensional transistor arrays, a circuit stabilizing the PUF output, and a low-offset comparator. The proposed 65-bit SCA-PUF is fabricated in a 130nm process and allows 2⁶⁵ CRPs. It consumes 68nW and 11pJ/bit while exhibiting high uniqueness, uniformity, and randomness. It achieves bit error rate (BER) of 5.8% for the temperature range of -20 to +80°C and supply voltage variation of ±10%. A calibration-based CRP selection method is developed to improve BER to 0.4% with a 42% loss of CRPs. When subjected to ML attacks, the prediction error stays over 40% on 10⁴ training points, which shows negligible loss in PUF unpredictability and about 100X higher resilience than the 65-bit arbiter PUF, 3-XOR PUF, and 3-XOR lightweight PUF. The second contribution is the application of a strong PUF in a secure key update scheme. Side-channel attacks on cryptographic implementations threaten system security via the loss of the secret key. The adversary can recover the key by analyzing side-channel analog behavior of a cryptographic device, such as power consumption. Fresh re-keying techniques aim to mitigate these attacks by regularly updating the key, so that the side-channel exposure of each key is minimized. Existing key update schemes generate fresh keys by processing a root key using arithmetic operations. Unfortunately, such techniques have been demonstrated to also be vulnerable to side-channel attacks. We propose a novel approach to fresh re-keying that replaces the arithmetic key update function with a strong PUF. We show that the security of our scheme hinges on the resilience of the PUF to a power side-channel attack and propose a realization based on the SCA-PUF. We show that the SCA-PUF is resistant to simple power analysis and a modeling attack that uses ML on the power side-channel. We target an insecure device and secure server encryption scenario for which we provide an efficient and scalable method of PUF enrollment. Finally, we develop an end-to-end encryption system with PUF-based fresh re-keying, using a reverse fuzzy extractor construction. The third contribution is the implementation of a strong PUF provably secure against ML attacks. The security is derived from cryptographic hardness of learning decryption functions of semantically secure public-key cryptosystems within the probably approximately correct framework. The proposed PUF, termed the lattice PUF, compactly realizes the decryption function of the learning-with-errors (LWE) public-key cryptosystem as the core block. The lattice PUF is lightweight and fully digital. It is constructed using a weak PUF, as a physically obfuscated key (POK), an LWE decryption function block, a pseudo-random number generator in the form of a linear-feedback shift register (LFSR), a self-incrementing counter, and a control block. The POK provides the secret key of the LWE decryption function. A fuzzy extractor is utilized to ensure stability of the POK. The proposed lattice PUF significantly improves upon a direct implementation of LWE decryption function in terms of challenge transfer cost by exploiting distributional relaxations allowed by recent work in space-efficient LWEs. Specifically, only a small challenge-seed is transmitted while the full-length challenge is re-generated by the LFSR resulting in a 100X reduction of communication cost. To prevent an active attack in which arbitrary challenges can be submitted, the value of a self-incrementing counter is embedded into the challenge seed. We construct a lattice PUF that realizes a challenge-response pair space of size 2¹³⁶, requires 1160 POK bits, and guarantees 128-bit ML resistance. Assuming a bit error rate of 5% for SRAM-based POK, 6.5K SRAM cells are needed. The PUF shows excellent uniformity, uniqueness, and reliability. We implement the PUF on a Spartan 6 FPGA. It requires only 45 slices for the lattice PUF proper and 233 slices for the fuzzy extractor

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