In the modern digital economy and society, security is an ever-growing concern, especially for Internet-of-Things (IoT)-related applications, where, in most cases, resources are scarce (e.g., minimal cost and low power are a must for wearables). However, responding to this security concern with conventional cryptographic solutions is, more often than not, a very resource-hungry alternative. This is why, in recent years, lightweight cryptographic solutions, tailored for implementations in constrained environments, have emerged using Physical Unclonable Functions, or PUFs. PUFs exploit the process variability in deep submicron CMOS technologies (also known as time-zero variability) to obtain circuits with a unique and unpredictable response. These circuits are typically very cheap, small and have low power consumption, and can even be implemented using circuitry which is also serving other purposes. However, time-dependent variability (TDV) of CMOS technologies can compromise the PUF reliability itself, and, consequently, the security and privacy of IoT data and communications.
On the other hand, the development of IoT in the near future faces a lot of technological challenges that need to be addressed, such as power/energy efficiency, reliability, security, and cost. Advanced CMOS technologies are potential candidates for solutions in the short term to those challenges, whereas beyond-CMOS devices are the answer for solutions in the long term.
The group SECRET combines the experience of researchers of the Instituto de Microelectrónica de Sevilla in reliability characterization and reliability-aware design in CMOS technology and low-power circuit design in beyond-CMOS technologies, on the one hand, and PUF design and lightweight cryptography, on the other, with the aim of developing new and robust lightweight cryptographic solutions.