Use of thermistor temperature sensors for cyber-physical system security

Carson Labrado, Himanshu Thapliyal, Stacy Prowell, Teja Kuruganti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The last few decades have seen a large proliferation in the prevalence of cyber-physical systems. This has been especially highlighted by the explosive growth in the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Unfortunately, the increasing prevalence of these devices has begun to draw the attention of malicious entities which exploit them for their own gain. What makes these devices especially attractive is the various resource constraints present in these devices that make it difficult to add standard security features. Therefore, one intriguing research direction is creating security solutions out of already present components such as sensors. Physically Unclonable Functions (PUFs) are one potential solution that use intrinsic variations of the device manufacturing process for provisioning security. In this work, we propose a novel weak PUF design using thermistor temperature sensors. Our design uses the differences in resistance variation between thermistors in response to temperature change. To generate a PUF that is reliable across a range of temperatures, we use a response-generation algorithm that helps mitigate the effects of temperature variation on the thermistors. We tested the performance of our proposed design across a range of environmental operating conditions. From this we were able to evaluate the reliability of the proposed PUF with respect to variations in temperature and humidity. We also evaluated the PUF’s uniqueness using Monte Carlo simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3905
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Cyber-physical systems
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Physically Unclonable Function (PUF)
  • Security
  • Sensor PUF
  • Thermistor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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