Dec 11, 2017
Jolley Hall, Room 309
"Securing Passive IoT Devices Using Self-powered Timers"
Adviser: Shantanu Chakrabartty
A major limitation in authenticating passive and remotely powered IoT devices like sensors, tags and cards (e.g. radio-frequency identification tags or credit cards) is that these devices do not have access to a continuously running system clock or time reference. This obviates the use of SecureID type authentication techniques involving random keys and tokens that need to be periodically generated and synchronized. In this research, we propose to use robust and reliable self-powered time-keeping devices in CMOS processes that do not need external power sources for dynamic authentication of passive IoT devices. We explored electron transportation mechanisms through silicon-di-oxide layers based on thermodynamically driven quantum fluctuations to implement the self-powered timers. Two key attributes of the proposed timing devices that are essential for authentication purpose have been explored and examined in this research: robustness for synchronization and enduring operational lifetime. Measured response from fabricated prototypes on multiple CMOS processes verified that the timing device is robust and reliable, demonstrating synchronization accuracy greater than 0.5% and lifetime as long as 3 years. Dynamic signature based security architecture and protocol based upon the proposed self-powered timers have been further investigated, and the protocol has been proved to be secure to most attack models targeting at passive devices. Future work of this research will focus on the compensation of temperature variations and cross applications of the self-powered timers.