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Cryptography 2018, 2(3), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryptography2030013

Intrinsic Run-Time Row Hammer PUFs: Leveraging the Row Hammer Effect for Run-Time Cryptography and Improved Security

1
Security Engineering Group, Computer Science Department, Technical University of Darmstadt, Mornewegstraße 32, S4|14, Darmstadt, 64293 Hessen, Germany
2
Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Technical University of Darmstadt, S3|06, Merckstraße 25, Darmstadt, 64283 Hessen, Germany
3
Measurement and Sensor Technology, Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Technical University of Darmstadt, S3|06, Merckstraße 25, Darmstadt, 64283 Hessen, Germany
4
Computer Architecture and Security Laboratory, Department of Electrical Engineering, Yale University, 10 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
This paper is an extended version of our paper published in Proceedings of 2017 IEEE International Symposium on Hardware Oriented Security and Trust (HOST), 1–5 May 2017.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 April 2018 / Revised: 22 June 2018 / Accepted: 25 June 2018 / Published: 30 June 2018
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Abstract

Physical Unclonable Functions (PUFs) based on the retention times of the cells of a Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) can be utilised for the implementation of cost-efficient and lightweight cryptographic protocols. However, as recent work has demonstrated, the times needed in order to generate their responses may prohibit their widespread usage. To address this issue, the Row Hammer PUF has been proposed by Schaller et al., which leverages the row hammer effect in DRAM modules to reduce the retention times of their cells and, therefore, significantly speed up the generation times for the responses of PUFs based on these retention times. In this work, we extend the work of Schaller et al. by presenting a run-time accessible implementation of this PUF and by further reducing the time required for the generation of its responses. Additionally, we also provide a more thorough investigation of the effects of temperature variations on the Row Hammer PUF and briefly discuss potential statistical relationships between the cells used to implement it. As our results prove, the Row Hammer PUF could potentially provide an adequate level of security for Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) devices, if its dependency on temperature is mitigated, and, may therefore, be commercially adopted in the near future. View Full-Text
Keywords: row hammer; dynamic random access memory (DRAM); physical unclonable function (PUF); run-time accessible; security primitive row hammer; dynamic random access memory (DRAM); physical unclonable function (PUF); run-time accessible; security primitive
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Anagnostopoulos, N.A.; Arul, T.; Fan, Y.; Hatzfeld, C.; Schaller, A.; Xiong, W.; Jain, M.; Saleem, M.U.; Lotichius, J.; Gabmeyer, S.; Szefer, J.; Katzenbeisser, S. Intrinsic Run-Time Row Hammer PUFs: Leveraging the Row Hammer Effect for Run-Time Cryptography and Improved Security . Cryptography 2018, 2, 13.

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