Cloning a Device: Machine learning attack resistant physical unclonable functions (PUF)

Abstract: When we talk about IoT security, physical unclonable function (PUF) is emerging as one of the key building blocks for device authentication and other supporting functions such as key generation. A PUF is a hardware-specific unique identity or a digital fingerprint of an integrated circuit (IC) or a device under consideration. It is a challenge-response mechanism that gives a unique response for each challenge applied to the device under the authentication process. PUF exploits manufacturing process variation inside ICs or the device to generate unique responses. The unique response of an IC can be used in a variety of applications in the area of hardware security like secret key generation, intellectual property protection, device authentication, and radio-frequency identification tag to detect counterfeit ICs, etc. The unpredictability of the CRPs behaviour is a crucial feature for the security of a PUF, and the protocols build on it. Meanwhile, machine learning (ML) techniques become a handy tool to model the PUF CRPs behaviour. They become a vital threat to strong PUFs. In machine learning modelling attacks (ML-MA), a set of CRPs are used to build a strong PUF module, which is later used to predict the response to a new challenge. In this tutorial we will discuss a lightweight PUF named MARPUF which is also resistant to various ML attacks.

Outline of the Tutorial:

  • Introduction to hardware primitives.
  • Different types of physical unclonable function (PUFs)
  • Application of PUF
  • Machine learning attack on PUF
  • Mitigation techniques to ML Attacks

Level of the Tutorial: Basic to advanced level.

Expected Length of the Tutorial: 3.5 hours.

Intended Audience: Bachelors students, Masters students, Researchers, and PhD scholars in Computer Science and Engineering/ Electronics. Basic Knowledge on Computer security would be desirable.


Dr. Vikash Kumar Rai is working as assistant professor in the school of cyber security and digital forensics at National forensic sciences university, Goa Campus. He has completed his M.Tech. in cyber security from Defence Institute of Advanced Technology, Pune and Ph.D. from Indian Institute of Technology Patna. He has published more than numerous papers in reputed journal and conferences and also published one patent.