We Can Remember It for You Wholesale: Implications of Data Remanence on the Use of RAM for True Random Number Generation on RFID Tags

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Random number generation is a fundamental security primitive for RFID devices. However, even this relatively simple requirement is beyond the capacity of today's average RFID tag. A recently proposed solution, Fingerprint Extraction and Random Number Generation in SRAM (FERNS), involves the use of onboard RAM as the source of "True" randomness. Unfortunately, practical considerations prevent this approach from reaching its full potential. First, this method must compete with other system functionalities for use of memory. Thus, the amount of uninitialized RAM available for utilization as a randomness generator may be severely restricted. Second, RAM is subject to data remanence; there is a time period after losing power during which stored data remains intact in memory.