A Closer Look at the Chaotic Ring Oscillators based TRNG Design


  • Shuqin Su Tsinghua University, Bejing, China
  • Bohan Yang Tsinghua University, Bejing, China
  • Vladimir Rožić Tsinghua University, Bejing, China; KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Mingyuan Yang Tsinghua University, Bejing, China
  • Min Zhu Wuxi Micro Innovation Integrated Circuit Design Co., Ltd., Wuxi, China
  • Shaojun Wei Tsinghua University, Bejing, China
  • Leibo Liu Tsinghua University, Bejing, China




FIRO-/GARO-based TRNGs, periodic oscillation, gate-level implementation guidelines, design methodology, online test


TRNG is an essential component for security applications. A vulnerable TRNG could be exploited to facilitate potential attacks or be related to a reduced key space, and eventually results in a compromised cryptographic system. A digital FIRO-/GARO-based TRNG with high throughput and high entropy rate was introduced by Jovan Dj. Golic (TC’06). However, the fact that periodic oscillation is a main failure of FIRO-/GARO-based TRNGs is noticed in the paper (Markus Dichtl, ePrint’15). We verify this problem and estimate the consequential entropy loss using Lyapunov exponents and the test suite of the NIST SP 800-90B standard. To address the problem of periodic oscillations, we propose several implementation guidelines based on a gate-level model, a design methodology to build a reliable GARO-based TRNG, and an online test to improve the robustness of FIRO-/GARO-based TRNGs. The gate-level implementation guidelines illustrate the causes of periodic oscillations, which are verified by actual implementation and bifurcation diagram. Based on the design methodology, a suitable feedback polynomial can be selected by evaluating the feedback polynomials. The analysis and understanding of periodic oscillation and FIRO-/GARO-based TRNGs are deepened by delay adjustment. A TRNG with the selected feedback polynomial may occasionally enter periodic oscillations, due to active attacks and the delay inconstancy of implementations. This inconstancy might be caused by self-heating, temperature and voltage fluctuation, and the process variation among different silicon chips. Thus, an online test module, as one indispensable component of TRNGs, is proposed to detect periodic oscillations. The detected periodic oscillation can be eliminated by adjusting feedback polynomial or delays to improve the robustness. The online test module is composed of a lightweight and responsive detector with a high detection rate, outperforming the existing detector design and statistical tests. The areas, power consumptions and frequencies are evaluated based on the ASIC implementations of a GARO, the sampling circuit and the online test module. The gate-level implementation guidelines promote the future establishment of the stochastic model of FIRO-/GARO-based TRNGs with a deeper understanding.




How to Cite

Su, S., Yang, B., Rožić, V., Yang, M., Zhu, M., Wei, S., & Liu, L. (2023). A Closer Look at the Chaotic Ring Oscillators based TRNG Design. IACR Transactions on Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems, 2023(2), 381–417. https://doi.org/10.46586/tches.v2023.i2.381-417