Wednesday, June 14th
03:10-4:10 PM
B-102: Storage/Security Applications (Data Centers Track)
Paper Title: Protecting SmartNICs with Physical Unclonable Functions (PUFs)

Paper Abstract: Like any system component, SmartNICs require protection from attackers. The chips themselves and their connections must both be made secure. The solution is to deploy a Root of Trust (RoT) in the processor hardware. A RoT consists of an identity and cryptographic keys. The use of Physical Unclonable Function (PUF) technology is the common way to establish the RoT. PUFs are generally implemented in hardware such as an FPGA and use properties (such as path delays or threshold voltages) that vary randomly due to imperfections in processing techniques. They provide a unique, immutable, and unclonable identity for each device, based on physical variations inherent to it. A PUF creates a unique cryptographic key for each chip that serves as its root key. That key can be reconstructed reliably from the PUF whenever necessary, avoiding the vulnerability caused by storing the key in memory. So, when the device is powered off, the root key is not present, making it invisible to attackers. Protection using PUFs is thus very secure. PUFs can be deployed as a RoT on any processor (CPU, GPU, FPGA, or AI chip) to achieve very high security for sensitive data and encrypted communications. System designers can apply strong security to SmartNICs without changing their hardware, thus providing great flexibility at low cost. PUF technology is a valuable building block for SmartNIC developers, allowing them to meet the security needs of their customers.

Paper Author: Reed Hinkel, VP Business Development, Intrinsic ID

Author Bio: Intrinsic ID’s VP Business Development Reed Hinkel is building the ecosystem for the company’s technology for authentication and security. He is an active participant in the Open Compute Platform efforts in device identity, security, and attestation. He has vast experience in cybersecurity, embedded system security, IoT security, computer security, and digital content protection. Before joining Intrinsic ID, Reed led ecosystem development for device security at Arm and was an IoT Product Manager at Texas Instruments.