Paper 2014/682

A Unified Formalism for Physical Attacks

Hélène Le Bouder, Ronan Lashermes, Yanis Linge, Bruno Robisson, and Assia Tria


The security of cryptographic algorithms can be considered in two contexts. On the one hand, these algorithms can be proven secure mathematically. On the other hand, physical attacks can weaken the implementation of an algorithm yet proven secure. Under the common name of physical attacks, different attacks are regrouped: side channel attacks and fault injection attacks. This paper presents a common formalism for these attacks and highlights their underlying principles. All physical attacks on symmetric algorithms can be described with a 3-step process. Moreover it is possible to compare different physical attacks, by separating the theoretical attack path and the experimental parts of the attacks.

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Formalismphysical attacksside channelsfault injections
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le bouder helene @ orange fr
2014-09-03: revised
2014-09-01: received
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      author = {Hélène Le Bouder and Ronan Lashermes and Yanis Linge and Bruno Robisson and Assia Tria},
      title = {A Unified Formalism for Physical Attacks},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2014/682},
      year = {2014},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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