International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Nathalie Bochard


Enhancing Quality and Security of the PLL-TRNG
Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are used more and more frequently to implement cryptographic systems, which need random number generators (RNGs) to be embedded in the same device. The main challenge related to the implementation of a generator running inside FPGAs is that the physical source of randomness, such as jittered clock generator, is implemented in the configurable logic area, i.e. in the close vicinity of noisy running algorithms, which can have significant impact on generated numbers or even serve to attack the generator. A possible approach to prevent such influence is the use of Phase-Lock Loops (PLLs), which are separated from the re-configurable logic area inside the FPGA chip. In this paper, we propose a new architecture of the PLL-based TRNG including a method to avoid correlation in the output through control of timing in the sampling process, as well as new embedded tests based on the enhanced stochastic model. We also propose a workflow to help find the best parameters, such as output bitrate and entropy rate. We show that bitrates of around 400 kb/s or more can be achieved, while guaranteeing min-entropy rates per bit higher than 0.98 as required by the latest security standards.
Low Cost and Precise Jitter Measurement Method for TRNG Entropy Assessment
Random number generators and specifically true random number generators (TRNGs) are essential in cryptography. TRNGs implemented in logic devices usually exploit the time instability of clock signals generated in freely running oscillators as source of randomness. To assess the performance and quality of oscillator-based TRNGs, accurate measurement of clock jitter originating from thermal noise is of paramount importance. We propose a novel jitter measurement method, in which the required jitter accumulation time can be reduced to around 100 reference clock periods. Reduction of the jitter accumulation time reduces the impact of the flicker noise on the measured jitter and increases the precision of the estimated contribution of thermal noise. In addition, the method can be easily embedded in logic devices. The fact that the jitter measurement can be placed in the same device as the TRNG is important since it can be used as a basis for efficient embedded statistical tests. In contrast to other methods, we propose a thorough theoretical analysis of the measurement error. This makes it possible to tune the parameters of the method to guarantee a relative error smaller than 12% even in the worst cases.