In cryptography, a key is used by ciphers to transform a plaintext into cipher text or cipher text into plaintext. The key is a sensitive information, therefore it must be generated by a true random source and it must be stored in a secure manner to avoid invasive and non-invasive attacks. The storage in a non-volatile memory represents a risk to retrieve the key and a deterministic generation makes the key vulnerable to attacks based on observation. In addition, key injection from the outside world implies the assistance of a third party, which complexifies the key management.
PUF Security IP is a secret key generation system based on Physically Unclonable Functions (PUF). The secret key is extracted by the PUF from the silicon by using its unique intrinsic properties caused by tiny manufacturing discrepancies: technological dispersions are amplified into digital signals (bits of information). The key generated by the PUF is not readable but extracted using a group of helper-data. This distinctive feature allows a real protection against the reverse-engineering techniques compared to traditional methods that store the key in non-volatile memory.