Paper 2014/028

Channel Equalization for Side Channel Attacks

Colin O'Flynn and Zhizhang (David) Chen


This paper introduces the use of channel equalization as a method of simplifying side channel analysis attacks, by effectively collapsing all points in a power measurement trace into a single random variable. This uses a simple Finite Impulse Response (FIR) linear equalizer, which has been studied extensively in communications systems. In addition the estimation of a channel model is used in developing the Channel Estimation Analysis (CEA), which is a generic attack requiring similar assumptions to the Correlation Power Analysis (CPA) attack. Both channel equalization and the CEA attack are straight-forward to apply to real systems, and Python examples are provided. Results of attacking unprotected AES-128 and protected AES-256RSM on a microcontroller are provided.

Note: Fixes uploaded revision from July/2014 - some fixes still to be incorporated (compared to 20141124:025849 revision, this one only fixes some tiny typos).

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Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
side-channel analysismultivariatehigher order DPAequalization
Contact author(s)
coflynn @ newae com
2014-11-24: last of 3 revisions
2014-01-12: received
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      author = {Colin O'Flynn and Zhizhang (David) Chen},
      title = {Channel Equalization for Side Channel Attacks},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2014/028},
      year = {2014},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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