Paper 2007/222

Towards Security Limits in Side-Channel Attacks

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


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.

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Published elsewhere. 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:
implementationsside-channel attacksblock ciphers
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fstandae @ uclouvain be
2008-02-08: last of 3 revisions
2007-06-08: received
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      author = {Francois-Xavier Standaert and Eric Peeters and Cedric Archambeau and Jean-Jacques Quisquater},
      title = {Towards Security Limits in Side-Channel Attacks},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2007/222},
      year = {2007},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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