D-RaNGe: Using Commodity DRAM Devices to Generate True Random Numbers with Low Latency and High Throughput

by   Jeremie S. Kim, et al.

We propose a new DRAM-based true random number generator (TRNG) that leverages DRAM cells as an entropy source. The key idea is to intentionally violate the DRAM access timing parameters and use the resulting errors as the source of randomness. Our technique specifically decreases the DRAM row activation latency (timing parameter tRCD) below manufacturer-recommended specifications, to induce read errors, or activation failures, that exhibit true random behavior. We then aggregate the resulting data from multiple cells to obtain a TRNG capable of providing a high throughput of random numbers at low latency. To demonstrate that our TRNG design is viable using commodity DRAM chips, we rigorously characterize the behavior of activation failures in 282 state-of-the-art LPDDR4 devices from three major DRAM manufacturers. We verify our observations using four additional DDR3 DRAM devices from the same manufacturers. Our results show that many cells in each device produce random data that remains robust over both time and temperature variation. We use our observations to develop D-RanGe, a methodology for extracting true random numbers from commodity DRAM devices with high throughput and low latency by deliberately violating the read access timing parameters. We evaluate the quality of our TRNG using the commonly-used NIST statistical test suite for randomness and find that D-RaNGe: 1) successfully passes each test, and 2) generates true random numbers with over two orders of magnitude higher throughput than the previous highest-throughput DRAM-based TRNG.


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