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Unique Degradation of Flash Memory as an Identifier of ICT Device

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107626-107634
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The counterfeit and stolen information and communication technologies (ICT) devices are an essential and growing problem. Reliable technology for the identification of ICT devices is required to enable blocking of these devices in the network worldwide. Motivated by this challenge, we elaborate on the idea of using the unique degradation image of flash memory chip (DFMC) as the identifier of the device. This idea is based on the assumption that the distribution of degraded segments in the memory chip is unique enough to provide reliable identification of the device. In this paper, we provide a proof of concept through a hardware experiment. For this experiment, we developed a custom test bed and special software enabling the forced degradation of NOR-flash memory chips. We, then, consider the uniqueness of such identifiers using combination theory and consider practical issues of DFMC implementation, including the initial identification procedure, light dynamic identifiers, and identification using a cross-correlation function and options of dynamic identification. We conclude that using DFMC addresses relevant challenges of ICT devices identification.


  • communication system security, counterfeiting, flash memory cells, Internet of things, network security, physical identification, system identification

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