Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2014/993

How Different Electrical Circuits of ECC Designs Influence the Shape of Power Traces measured on FPGA

Thomas Basmer and Christian Wittke and Zoya Dyka and Peter Langendoerfer

Abstract: Side channel and fault attacks take advantage from the fact that the behavior of crypto implementations can be observed and provide hints that simplify revealing keys. These attacks use identical devices either for preparation of attacks or for measurements. By the preparation of attacks the structure and the electrical circuit of devices, that are identical to the target, is analyzed. By side channel attacks usually the same device is used many times for measurements, i.e. measurements on the identical device are made serially in time. Another way is to exploit the difference of side channel leakages; here two identical devices are used parallel, i.e. at the same time. In this paper we investigate the influence of the electrical circuit of a cryptographic implementation on the shape of the resulting power trace, because individualizing of circuits of cryptographic devices can be a new means to prevent attacks that use identical devices. We implemented three different designs that provide exactly the same cryptographic function, i.e. an ECC kP multiplication. For our evaluation we use two different FPGAs. The visualization of the routed design and measurement results show clear differences in the resources consumed as well as in the power traces.

Category / Keywords: public-key cryptography / cryptographic hardware architectures, security processors, countermeasures against side-channel attacks, FPGA

Date: received 12 Dec 2014, last revised 19 Dec 2014

Contact author: basmer at ihp-microelectronics com

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Version: 20141219:085909 (All versions of this report)

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