Paper 2012/430

A formal study of two physical countermeasures against side channel attacks

Sébastien Briais, Sylvain Guilley, and Jean-Luc Danger


Secure electronic circuits must implement countermeasures against a wide range of attacks. Often, the protection against side channel attacks requires to be tightly integrated within the functionality to be protected. It is now part of the designer's job to implement them. But this task is known to be error-prone, and with current development processes, countermeasures are evaluated often very late (at circuit fabrication). In order to improve the confidence of the designer in the efficiency of the countermeasure, we suggest in this article to resort to formal methods early in the design flow for two reasons. First of all, we intend to check that the process of transformation of the design from the vulnerable description to the protected one does not alter the functionality. Second, we wish to prove that the security properties (that can derive from a formal security functional specification) are indeed met after transformation. Our first contribution is to show how such a framework can be setup (in COQ) for netlist-level protections. The second contribution is to illustrate that this framework indeed allows to detect vulnerabilities in dual-rail logics, with the examples of wave differential dynamic logic (WDDL) and balanced cell-based differential logic (BCDL).

Note: Extended version of PROOFS 2012 (<a href="">paper and slides</a>). <br /> <br /> Preliminary version, without COQ code examples, of JCEN 2013 (<a href="">on-line document at Springer</a>).

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Published elsewhere. Accepted for publication at PROOFS 2012 and in JCEN 2013
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sylvain guilley @ telecom-paristech fr
2013-04-03: last of 3 revisions
2012-08-05: received
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      author = {Sébastien Briais and Sylvain Guilley and Jean-Luc Danger},
      title = {A formal study of two physical countermeasures against side channel attacks},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2012/430},
      year = {2012},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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