MEMS sensors as physical unclonable functions [article]

Oliver Willers, Universität Des Saarlandes, Universität Des Saarlandes
2019
A fundamental requirement of any crypto system is that secret-key material remains securely stored so that it is robust in withstanding attacks including physical tampering. In this context, physical unclonable functions (PUFs) have been proposed to store cryptographic secrets in a particularly secure manner. In this thesis, the feasibility of using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors for secure key storage purposes is evaluated for the first time. To this end, we investigated an
more » ... nvestigated an off-the-shelf 3-axis MEMS gyroscope design and used its properties to derive a unique fingerprint from each sensor. We thoroughly examined the robustness of the derived fingerprints against temperature variation and aging. We extracted stable keys with nearly full entropy from the fingerprints. The security level of the extracted keys lies in a range between 27 bits and 150 bits depending on the applied test conditions and the used entropy estimation method. Moreover, we provide experimental evidence that the extractable key length is higher in practice when multiple wafers are considered. In addition, it is shown that further improvements could be achieved by using more precise measurement techniques and by optimizing the MEMS design. The robustness of a MEMS PUF against tampering and malicious read-outs was tested by three different types of physical attacks. We could show that MEMS PUFs provide a high level of protection due to the sensitivity of their characteristics to disassembly. i ii At this point I would like to thank all those who supported and motivated me during my PhD work.
doi:10.22028/d291-29807 fatcat:thywkfqcvve4zmls7vlwi7sfpa