Paper 2013/717

NICV: Normalized Inter-Class Variance for Detection of Side-Channel Leakage

Shivam Bhasin, Jean-Luc Danger, Sylvain Guilley, and Zakaria Najm


Side-Channel Attacks (SCA) are considered a serious threat against embedded cryptography. Therefore security critical chips must be tested for SCA resistance before deployment or certification. SCA are powerful but can need a lot of computation power, especially in the presence of countermeasures. The computation complexity of these attacks can be reduced by selecting a small subset of points where leakage prevails. In this paper, we propose a method to detect relevant leakage points in side-channel traces. The method is based on Normalized Inter-Class Variance (NICV). A key advantage of NICV over state-of-the-art is that NICV does neither need a clone device nor the knowledge of secret parameters of the crypto-system. NICV has a low computation requirement and it detects leakage using public information like input plaintexts or output ciphertexts only. It can also be used to test the efficiency of leakage models, the quality of traces and robustness of countermeasures. A theoretical rationale of NICV with practical application on real crypto-systems are provided to support our claims.

Note: Sorry, the previous formula was correct: NICV=1/(1+1/SNR). Reverting.

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Publication info
Published elsewhere. MINOR revision.HASP 2014
CryptographySide-channel analysisLeakage Detection
Contact author(s)
shivam bhasin @ telecom-paristech fr
2017-02-26: last of 6 revisions
2013-11-03: received
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      author = {Shivam Bhasin and Jean-Luc Danger and Sylvain Guilley and Zakaria Najm},
      title = {NICV: Normalized Inter-Class Variance for Detection of Side-Channel Leakage},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2013/717},
      year = {2013},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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