Paper 2009/341

Leakage Resilient Cryptography in Practice

Francois-Xavier Standaert, Olivier Pereira, Yu Yu, Jean-Jacques Quisquater, Moti Yung, and Elisabeth Oswald


In this report, we are concerned with models to analyze the security of cryptographic algorithms against side-channel attacks. Our objectives are threefold. In a first part of the paper, we aim to survey a number of well known intuitions related to physical security and to connect them with more formal results in this area. For this purpose, we study the definition of leakage function introduced by Micali and Reyzin in 2004 and its relation to practical power consumption traces. Then, we discuss the non equivalence between the unpredictability and indistinguishability of pseudorandom generators in physically observable cryptography. Eventually, we examine the assumption of bounded leakage per iteration that has been used recently to prove the security of different constructions against side-channel attacks. We show that approximated leakage bounds can be obtained using the framework for the analysis of side-channel key recovery attacks published at Eurocrypt 2009. In a second part of the paper, we aim to investigate two recent leakage resilient pseudorandom generators, both from a theoretical and practical point of view. On the one hand, we consider a forward secure generator from ASIACCS 2008 and its similarities with a previous construction by Bellare and Yee. On the other hand, we analyze Pietrzak's block cipher based construction from Eurocrypt 2009. Doing this, we put forward the difficulty of meaningfully restricting the physical leakages and show that this difficulty leads to different drawbacks. It allows us to emphasize the differences between these two designs. First, one construction that we analyze requires strong black box assumptions (i.e. random oracles) - the other one considers unrealistic leakages leading to (possibly useless) performance overheads. Second, one construction considers an adversary able to adaptively choose a leakage function while the second one does not permit this adaptivity. Third, the security proof of the Eurocrypt 2009 construction relies on the assumption that ``only computation leaks'' (or relaxed but related hypotheses) while this assumption is not necessary for the ASIACCS construction. We then discuss the impact of these hypotheses with respect to recent technological advances. In the third part of the paper, we show that Pietrzak's leakage resilient mode of operation from Eurocrypt 2009 can be broken with a standard DPA if it is re-initialized without sharing new keys. Then, we propose solutions to fix this issue and extend the initial proposal from ASIACCS 2008 in order to rely on more standard cryptographic constructions. We use these alternative designs to illustrate the incompatibility between a fully adaptive selection of the leakage function and the secure initialization of a pseudorandom generator. We also argue that simple pseudorandom functions (e.g. the one of Goldreich, Goldwasser, Micali) can be shown leakage resilient, using the random oracle methodology. We additionally discuss the security vs. performance tradeoff that is inherent to these different schemes. Eventually, we show that the security of the forward secure pseudorandom number generator of Bellare and Yee against side-channel attacks cannot be directly generalized in the standard model. It is an open problem to determine the minimum black box assumptions and restrictions of the leakage function for this purpose.

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Published elsewhere. work in progress.
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fstandae @ uclouvain be
2010-03-13: revised
2009-07-13: received
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      author = {Francois-Xavier Standaert and Olivier Pereira and Yu Yu and Jean-Jacques Quisquater and Moti Yung and Elisabeth Oswald},
      title = {Leakage Resilient Cryptography in Practice},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2009/341},
      year = {2009},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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