There's numerous posts about reading the Pi's serial number from /proc/cpuinfo. I'm considering using the serial number as a unique id for licencing commercial software but am concercned that /proc/cpuinfo could possibly be faked (I stumbled on a few links that suggested it was easily possible but I haven't verified them: https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=541842#p541842, Editing Serial Number etc.).

I also verify that /proc/cpuinfo reports a size of zero, but I'm not sure if that can also be worked around.

Is there a way to programmatically read the serial directly from the broadcom chip?

  • using the serial number as a unique id FYI: the 'serial' number is not unique. They are randomly generated and people have seen the same ID come up already...
    – Dirk
    Dec 5, 2019 at 5:50
  • What operating system are you using?
    – joan
    Dec 5, 2019 at 10:12
  • @joan I'm using Raspbian Buster.
    – NickD2039
    Dec 6, 2019 at 1:03
  • @Dirk - thanks for the head's up.
    – NickD2039
    Dec 6, 2019 at 1:03
  • @Dirk - Do you happen to know if the serial is programmed by the raspberry pi foundation or the chip manufacturer (broadcom?)?
    – NickD2039
    Dec 6, 2019 at 1:24

1 Answer 1


The serial number is programmed into the OTP register

This can be read with vcgencmd otp_dump

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