CrossBar Inc. announced a new application of its Resistive RAM (ReRAM) technology for use as a physical unclonable function (PUF) in order to generate cryptographic keys in secure computing applications.
While historically utilized as a non-volatile semiconductor memory, CrossBar’s ReRAM technology is now being introduced for use in hardware security applications utilizing its ReRAM based cryptographic PUF keys, enabling a more secure and cost-effective class of devices and systems.
Digital attacks on computers, mobile phones, and infrastructure are on the rise. These attacks also pose counterfeiting risks to brand-name products. To resist such attacks, devices are integrating secret cryptographic “keys” to facilitate secure communications and control. While there are numerous technologies currently utilized as PUF keys, the most common approach leverages semiconductor Static Random Access Memory (SRAM). Unfortunately, this technology has numerous drawbacks limiting its level of security and effectiveness. Compared to SRAM PUF, CrossBar’s latest ReRAM based PUF cryptographic key technology has a higher level of randomness, much lower bit error rate, resistance to invasive attacks, and the capability of handling a broad range of environmental variations without requiring fuzzy extractors, helper data, or heavy error correction code.
The ReRAM keys are unique to each individual semiconductor integrated circuit (IC), leveraging the inherent randomness characteristics of the ReRAM technology. These keys will be used for identification, encryption/decryption, and authentication.
CrossBar’s new ReRAM PUF technology is enabling a new class of secure computing, addressing many of the deficiencies of alternative PUF implementations. ReRAM PUF is also an ideal candidate for semiconductor applications requiring both high security and embedded non-volatile memory (NVM), especially for foundry nodes smaller than 28nm where embedded NVM is not readily available.