International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Anita Aghaie


Combining Optimization Objectives: New Modeling Attacks on Strong PUFs 📺
Strong Physical Unclonable Functions (PUFs), as a promising security primitive, are supposed to be a lightweight alternative to classical cryptography for purposes such as device authentication. Most of the proposed candidates, however, have been plagued by modeling attacks breaking their security claims. The Interpose PUF (iPUF), which has been introduced at CHES 2019, was explicitly designed with state-of-the-art modeling attacks in mind and is supposed to be impossible to break by classical and reliability attacks. In this paper, we analyze its vulnerability to reliability attacks. Despite the increased difficulty, these attacks are still feasible, against the original authors’ claim. We explain how adding constraints to the modeling objective streamlines reliability attacks and allows us to model all individual components of an iPUF successfully. In order to build a practical attack, we give several novel contributions. First, we demonstrate that reliability attacks can be performed not only with covariance matrix adaptation evolution strategy (CMA-ES) but also with gradient-based optimization. Second, we show that the switch to gradient-based reliability attacks makes it possible to combine reliability attacks, weight constraints, and Logistic Regression (LR) into a single optimization objective. This framework makes modeling attacks more efficient, as it exploits knowledge of responses and reliability information at the same time. Third, we show that a differentiable model of the iPUF exists and how it can be utilized in a combined reliability attack. We confirm that iPUFs are harder to break than regular XOR Arbiter PUFs. However, we are still able to break (1,10)-iPUF instances, which were originally assumed to be secure, with less than 107 PUF response queries.
Inconsistency of Simulation and Practice in Delay-based Strong PUFs 📺
Anita Aghaie Amir Moradi
The developments in the areas of strong Physical Unclonable Functions (PUFs) predicate an ongoing struggle between designers and attackers. Such a combat motivated the atmosphere of open research, hence enhancing PUF designs in the presence of Machine Learning (ML) attacks. As an example of this controversy, at CHES 2019, a novel delay-based PUF (iPUF) has been introduced and claimed to be resistant against various ML and reliability attacks. At CHES 2020, a new divide-and-conquer modeling attack (splitting iPUF) has been presented showing the vulnerability of even large iPUF variants.Such attacks and analyses are naturally examined purely in the simulation domain, where some metrics like uniformity are assumed to be ideal. This assumption is motivated by a common belief that implementation defects (such as bias) may ease the attacks. In this paper, we highlight the critical role of uniformity in the success of ML attacks, and for the first time present a case where the bias originating from implementation defects hardens certain learning problems in complex PUF architectures. We present the result of our investigations conducted on a cluster of 100 Xilinx Artix 7 FPGAs, showing the incapability of the splitting iPUF attack to model even small iPUF instances when facing a slight non-uniformity. In fact, our findings imply that non-ideal conditions due to implementation defects should also be considered when developing an attack vector on complex PUF architectures like iPUF. On the other hand, we observe a relatively low uniqueness even when following the suggestions made by the iPUF’s original authors with respect to the FPGA implementations, which indeed questions the promised physical unclonability.