Quality of Security Guarantees for and with Physical Unclonable Functions and Biometric Secrecy Systems †

Onur Günlü, Rafael F. Schaefer, H. Vincent Poor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unique digital circuit outputs, considered as physical unclonable function (PUF) circuit outputs, can facilitate a secure and reliable secret key agreement. To tackle noise and high correlations between the PUF circuit outputs, transform coding methods combined with scalar quantizers are typically applied to extract the uncorrelated bit sequences reliably. In this paper, we create realistic models for these transformed outputs by fitting truncated distributions to them. We also show that the state-of-the-art models are inadequate to guarantee a target reliability level for all PUF outputs, which also means that secrecy cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, we introduce a quality of security parameter to control the percentage of the PUF circuit outputs for which a target security level can be guaranteed. By applying the finite-length information theory results to a public ring oscillator output dataset, we illustrate that security guarantees can be provided for each bit extracted from any PUF device by eliminating only a small subset of PUF circuit outputs. Furthermore, we conversely show that it is not possible to provide reliability or security guarantees without eliminating any PUF circuit output. Our holistic methods and analyses can be applied to any PUF type, as well as any biometric secrecy system, with continuous-valued outputs to extract secret keys with low hardware complexity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1243
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


  • IoT security
  • physical unclonable function (PUF)
  • quality of security (QoSec)
  • reliability on the quantization boundary
  • transforms without multiplications


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