Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2016/609

How low can you go? Using side-channel data to enhance brute-force key recovery

Jake Longo and Daniel P. Martin and Luke Mather and Elisabeth Oswald and Benjamin Sach and Martijn Stam

Abstract: Side-channel analysis techniques can be used to construct key recovery attacks by observing a side-channel medium such as the power consumption or electromagnetic radiation of a device while is it performing cryptographic operations. These attack results can be used as auxiliary information in an enhanced brute-force key recovery attack, enabling the adversary to \emph{enumerate} the most likely keys first.

We use algorithmic and implementation techniques to implement a time- and memory-efficient key \emph{enumeration} algorithm, and in tandem identify how to optimise throughput when bulk-verifying quantities of candidate AES-128 keys. We then explore how to best distribute the workload so that it can be deployed across a significant number of CPU cores and executed in parallel, giving an adversary the capability to enumerate a very large number of candidate keys.

We introduce the tool \textsc{labynkyr}, developed in C++11, that can be deployed across any number of CPUs and workstations to enumerate keys in parallel. We conclude by demonstrating the effectiveness of our tool by successfully enumerating $2^{48}$ AES-128 keys in approximately 30 hours using a modest number of CPU cores, at an expected cost of only 700 USD using a popular cloud provider.

Category / Keywords: implementation / Side channel analysis, key enumeration

Date: received 10 Jun 2016

Contact author: luke t mather at gmail com dan martin@bristol ac uk elisabeth oswald@bristol ac uk martijn stam@bristol ac uk jake longo@bristol ac uk

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Version: 20160614:172200 (All versions of this report)

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