The use of embedded secret information such as keys for cryptographic applications, unique identifiers for authentication, and activation of on-chip features is becoming increasingly employed in ICs. The generation of secret bit strings using PUFs offers distinct cost and security advantages over conventional approaches of storing keys in RAM, ROM, or programmable fuses. For example, PUFs can be used to efficiently implement challenge–response authentication without the need to pre-program or load pre-assigned keys. As the PUF characteristics are not directly revealed by the challenge-response mechanism, such an IC is highly resistant to attacks. Below are some of the current and emerging solutions combining PUF and Encryption technology.

I.C. counterfeiting is an increasing problem and concern in the industry. I.C.s in applications that are information-, safety- or security-critical or in high volume production are particular targets. The QuantumTrace IP core provides a cost effective means of embedding a unique ID “fingerprint” in each chip which is unclonable.

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Low Cost Secure Product ID

An efficient means of integrating a reliable chip ID for manufacturing logistics or in-field ID verification purposes is an increasing need for high volume IC manufacturers, applications that involve high value content or service criticality. The QuantumTrace IP core provides a scalable low cost means to serve this growing area.

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Key Management

The generation and management of secret keys using PUFs offer distinct cost and security advantages over the traditional approach of storing multiple keys in RAM, ROM or programmable fuses. The QuantumTrace PUF engine can efficiently generate multiple unique keys intrinsically without the need to pre-program or load pre-assigned keys.

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Hardware Software Binding

Implementations of PUF-based unique chip ID at the basic hardware level provides a “Root of Trust” function that can be used throughout the system to not only validate the hardware, but also to bind software at the operating system or application level.

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IP Protection & Metering

While the development cost of leading-edge ICs is skyrocketing, these new advanced technologies permit increasing levels of system-on-a-chip integration. This leads to a very rich and complex IP environment. A single IC can now provide a broader range of IP so that many optional configurations can be offered. PUF technology can enable features or additional functionality to be remotely activated or to meter usage in a secure, controlled and cost effective manner.

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QuantumTrace Solutions