Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2007/222

Towards Security Limits in Side-Channel Attacks

Francois-Xavier Standaert and Eric Peeters and Cedric Archambeau and Jean-Jacques Quisquater

Abstract: This paper considers a recently introduced framework for the analysis of physically observable cryptographic devices. It exploits a model of computation that allows quantifying the effect of practically relevant leakage functions with a combination of security and information theoretic metrics. As a result of these metrics, a unified evaluation methodology for side-channel attacks was derived that we illustrate by applying it to an exemplary block cipher implementation. We first consider a Hamming weight leakage function and evaluate the efficiency of two commonly investigated countermeasures, namely noise addition and masking. Then, we show that the proposed methodology allows capturing certain non-trivial intuitions about the respective effectiveness of these countermeasures Finally, we justify the need of combined metrics for the evaluation, comparison and understanding of side-channel attacks.

Category / Keywords: implementations, side-channel attacks, block ciphers

Publication Info: The paper was published in the proceedings of CHES 2006. This ePrint version contains corrected notations in order to comply with the updated notations of the model in:

Date: received 8 Jun 2007, last revised 8 Feb 2008

Contact author: fstandae at uclouvain be

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Version: 20080208:111843 (All versions of this report)

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