Physical Unclonable Functions for enhanced security of tokens and tags

  • Pim Tuyls
  • Boris Škorić


Security tokens and RFID-tags are playing an increasingly important role in the authentication of persons and devices, e.g. controlling access to services and protecting the value of goods and digital content. In order to provide the required security level they are used in combination with a cryptographic algorithm. State of the art algorithms are so sophisticated nowadays that they are virtually immune against mathematical attacks. Hence, the offered security level essentially depends on the secrecy of the employed keys. Several studies have shown that the secrecy of keys stored in memory is not guaranteed when physical attacks are used.

Recently, Physical Unclonable Functions (PUFs) were introduced as an identification tool to build secure tokens. In this paper, we extend this setting and show how PUFs can be used for generating and storing keys in a way that is secure even against physical attacks. This enables new strong security devices such as unclonable tokens, secure key storage devices and unclonable REID-tags. These are briefly described together with some applications.


Trusted Platform Module Enrolment Phase Cryptographic Algorithm Physical Attack Physical Unclonable Function 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [3DAS]
    Unicate BV’s ‘3DAS’ system,, 1999.
  2. [Bau 1983]
    Bauder D. W: An Anti-Counteifeiting Concept for Currency. Systems Research Report PTK-1 1990, Sandia National Laboratories, 1983.Google Scholar
  3. [BCJP2OO5]
    Buchanan J. D. R., Cowburn R. P., Jausovec A., Petit D., Seem P., Xiong G., Atkinson D., Fenton K., Allwood D. A., Bryan M. T.: Forgery: ‘Fingerprinting’ documents and packaging. Nature 436 (28 Jul 2005), Brief Communications, p.475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. [DRS2004]
    Dodis Y., Reyzin M., Smith A.: Fuzzy Extractors: How to generate strong keys from biometrics and other noisy data. In: Cachin and Camenisch, (Eds.): Proceedings of Eurocrypt 2004, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, volume 3027, Springer-Verlag, 2004, p. 523–540.Google Scholar
  5. [Gas2003]
    Gassend B.: Physical Random Functions, Master’s Thesis, MIT 2003.Google Scholar
  6. [GCvDD2002a]
    Gassend B., Clarke D., van Dijk M., Devadas S.: Controlled Physical Random Functions. Proc. 18th Annual Computer Security Applications Conf., Dec. 2002.Google Scholar
  7. [GCvDD2002b]
    Gassend B., Clarke D., van Dijk M., Devadas S.: Silicon Physical Random Functions, Proc. 9th ACM Conf. on Computer and Communications Security, Nov. 2002.Google Scholar
  8. [Kir2004]
    Kirovski D.,: A Point-Subset Compression Algorithm for Fiber-based Certificates of Authenticity, IEEE Proc. ISIT 2004, p.173.Google Scholar
  9. [LT2003]
    Linnartz J. P., Tuyls. P.: New Shielding Functions to Enhance Privacy and Prevent Misuse of Biometric Templates, Proc. 4th International Conference on Audio and Video based Biometric Person Authentication (2003), LNCS 2688, Springer-Verlag, p. 238–250.Google Scholar
  10. [MDR2001]
    Magnor M., Dorn P., Rudolph W.: Simulation of confocal microscopy through scattering media with and without time gating, J. Opt. Soc. Am. B, Vol. 19,no. 11 (2001), p. 1695–1700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. [Pap200l]
    Pappu R.: Physical One-Way Functions.. Ph.D. thesis, MIT 2001.Google Scholar
  12. [Pos 1998]
    Posch R.: Protecting Devices by Active Coating, Journal of Universal Computer Science, vol.4, no.7 (1998), p.652–668.Google Scholar
  13. [PRTG2002]
    Pappu R., Recht B., Taylor J., Gershenfeld N.: Physical One-Way Functions, Science Vol. 297, Sept 2002, p.2026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [ST02005]
    Škorić B., Tuyls P., Ophey W.: Robust key extraction from Physical Uncloneable Functions. In: Ioannidis, Keromytis, Yung (Eds.): Proc. ACNS 2005, LNCS 3531, p.407–422.Google Scholar
  15. [TB2006]
    Tuyls P., Batina L.: RFID-TagsforAnti-Counterfeiting, In D. Pointcheval (ed.): ‘Topics in Cryptology’-CT-RSA 2006, The Cryptographers’ Track at the RSA Conference, LNCS 3860, Springer-Verlag, p. 115–131.Google Scholar
  16. [TS2005]
    Tuyls P., Škorić B.: Secret Key Generation from Classical Physics. In: S. Mukherjee et al (Eds.): ‘Amlware: Hardware Technology Drivers of Ambient Intelligence’, Philips Research Book Series Vol. 5, Kluwer, 2005., p. 421–447.Google Scholar
  17. [TSSW’2006]
    Tuyls P., Škorić B., Schrijen G. J., Wolters R., van Geloven J., Verhaegh N., Kretschman H.: Read-p roof hardware from protective coatings, accepted at CHES 2006.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn Verlag | GWV-Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pim Tuyls
    • 1
  • Boris Škorić
    • 1
  1. 1.Philips ResearchThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations