Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2014/626

Get Your Hands Off My Laptop: Physical Side-Channel Key-Extraction Attacks on PCs

Daniel Genkin and Itamar Pipman and Eran Tromer

Abstract: We demonstrate physical side-channel attacks on a popular software implementation of RSA and ElGamal, running on laptop computers. Our attacks use novel side channels, based on the observation that the "ground" electric potential, in many computers, fluctuates in a computation-dependent way. An attacker can measure this signal by touching exposed metal on the computer's chassis with a plain wire, or even with a bare hand. The signal can also be measured at the remote end of Ethernet, VGA or USB cables.

Through suitable cryptanalysis and signal processing, we have extracted 4096-bit RSA keys and 3072-bit ElGamal keys from laptops, via each of these channels, as well as via power analysis and electromagnetic probing. Despite the GHz-scale clock rate of the laptops and numerous noise sources, the full attacks require a few seconds of measurements using Medium Frequency signals (around 2 MHz), or one hour using Low Frequency signals (up to 40 kHz).

Category / Keywords: implementation / side channel attack, power analysis, RSA key extraction

Original Publication (in the same form): IACR-CHES-2014

Date: received 13 Aug 2014, last revised 20 Aug 2014

Contact author: tromer at cs tau ac il

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Note: Extended version

Version: 20140820:211405 (All versions of this report)

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