With a UID, chips can generate an internal secret as a seed for key generation or a root key and an external plaintext number for chip identification or product series number. UID can also be used as the device’s identity by authentication and authorization algorithms to protect it from unauthorized access or cloning.
A Hardware Unique Key (HUK) is the device-specific key acting as the “root” of all other secret keys on a particular device. It is crucial that the HUK remains secured to maintain the integrity of the Key chain it supports.
Anti-tamper designs typically form a shell to counter various types of attack, such as scrambling the data when it is being written or detecting a glitch in the circuitry.
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As the first step in establishing any cybersecurity ecosystem, the process of key generation must remain reliably secure. Software-based key generation algorithms introduce various risk factors into the process, such as key management and key injection, along with the added costs required to support such processes. Thus, the safest solution is the simplest, generating an inborn root key at the hardware level through the use of a built-in PUF. There are many physical processes upon which a PUF can be built (over 40 to date), but one stands out above the rest, based on the mechanism known as Quantum Tunneling.
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