Hal Finney wrote:
> Looking at the block diagram for the new Toshiba circuit, and comparing
> with the Intel design, one concern I have is with attacks on the device
> via external electromagnetic fields which could modulate current flows
> and potentially influence internal random numbers. Intel attempted
> to mitigate this attack by using a pair of resistors spaced close
> together, and taking differentials between them. I don't see any such
> countermeasures in the (admittedly crude) block diagram in the Toshiba
> press release.

>From the EE Times article, the stochastic noise source for the Toshiba RNG
is from a trap layer of Silicon Nitride in a MOSFET transistor.  An Analog
to Digital Converter is used as a gating amplifier and the random noise bit
rate is dependent on the conversion speed instead of transformer etc.impulse
response.  The difference in size between the 2 Mb/s  and 10 Mb/s RNG appear
to be due to A/D converter area (from the ISSCC session 22 advanced program).


It's a floating gate structure.

"  it is clear from the figure that the SiN MOSFET device generates greater
current fluctuation. This is presumably because more frequent occurrence of
electron capture and emission between the Si channels and dangling bonds
owing to the remarkably large number of the traps that cause noise
generation makes possible generation of a large amount of noise. Also, the
SiN MOSFET?s ID fluctuation makes it possible to generate a larger amount of
random noise due to the respective parameter designs of the devices (gate
length, gate width, tunnel oxidized film thickness (Tox), the Si/N atomic
ratio). "

The more "signal", the higher the noise immunity, presumably.  The
description reminds me of tube thermionic noise.   I'd suspect it would
benefit from a drawing done on a rotated axis showing the Trap layer as a 2D

You get a random noise source that doesn't require the cryptographic
boundary be pushed into instruction/procedural space or across chip
boundaries for RNG generation, avoiding those pesky predictable random
numbers as attributed to a Microsoft software implementation recently.

Military silicon already has RNG on chip (e.g. AIM, Advanced INFOSEC
Machine, Motorola), you wonder if someone would consider an FPGA with a good
RNG hard core cell on chip, now that someone has figured out how to do
red/black separation in an FPGA compiler.  Wonder how cheap it is to spot
dope SiN or will we have to switch to anti-fuse FPGAs to take advantage?

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