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CrossBar announces ReRAM Based PUF Keys

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ReRAM technology specialist, CrossBar, has unveiled a new application of its Resistive RAM (ReRAM) technology for use as a physical unclonable function (PUF) in order to generate cryptographic keys in secure computing applications.

Typically used as non-volatile semiconductor memory, CrossBar’s ReRAM technology is now being introduced for use in hardware security applications utilising its ReRAM based cryptographic PUF keys, which enable a more secure and cost-effective class of devices and systems.

“CrossBar is expanding the use cases of our Resistive RAM technology with a new class of secure computing,” said Mark Davis, President at CrossBar. “We believe the state-of-the-art use of our unique technology as PUF cryptographic keys will provide higher security for our customers' products and open new markets for CrossBar’s technology.”

While the dumber of digital attacks is increasing thet are also posing a growing threat in terms of counterfeiting risks to brand name products. In response, devices are integrating secret cryptographic “keys” to facilitate secure communications and control.

While there are numerous technologies currently utilised as PUF keys, the most common approach leverages semiconductor Static Random Access Memory (SRAM). This technology, however, come swith a number of drawbacks limiting its level of security and effectiveness. By contrast, CrossBar’s ReRAM based PUF cryptographic key technology has a higher level of randomness, much lower bit error rate, resistance to invasive attacks and the capability of handling a broad range of environmental variations without requiring fuzzy extractors, helper data or heavy error correction code.

The ReRAM keys are unique to each individual semiconductor integrated circuit (IC), leveraging the inherent randomness characteristics of the ReRAM technology. These keys will be used for identification, encryption/decryption and authentication.

“After analyzing numerous PUF technologies, we believe CrossBar’s ReRAM has significant advantages for use as next generation physical unclonable function (PUF) keys,” said Dr. Bertrand Cambou, Professor of Nanotechnology and Cybersecurity at Northern Arizona University, and formerly a top executive at Gemplus and several other Silicon Valley technology companies. “Due to its unique stochastic and electrical characteristics, CrossBar’s ReRAM PUF enables significantly more secure systems compared to incumbent PUF technologies.”

CrossBar’s ReRAM PUF technology looks to address many of the deficiencies of alternative PUF implementations. ReRAM PUF is increasingly being used in semiconductor applications requiring both high security and embedded non-volatile memory (NVM), especially for foundry nodes smaller than 28nm where embedded NVM is not readily available.