Paper 2015/529

Power Analysis Attacks against IEEE 802.15.4 Nodes

Colin O'Flynn and Zhizhang Chen


IEEE 802.15.4 is a wireless standard used by a variety of higher-level protocols, including many used in the Internet of Things (IoT). A number of system on a chip (SoC) devices that combine a radio transceiver with a microcontroller are available for use in IEEE 802.15.4 networks. IEEE 802.15.4 supports the use of AES-CCM* for encryption and authentication of messages, and a SoC normally includes an AES accelerator for this purpose. This work measures the leakage characteristics of the AES accelerator on the Atmel ATMega128RFA1, and then demonstrates how this allows recovery of the encryption key from nodes running an IEEE 802.15.4 stack. While this work demonstrates the attack on a specific SoC, the results are also applicable to similar wireless nodes and to protocols built on top of IEEE 802.15.4.

Note: Update of paper - minor edits to extended version (extends COSADE 2016 paper)

Available format(s)
Publication info
Published elsewhere. Major revision. Proceedings of COSADE 2016
AESside-channel power analysisDPAIEEE 802.15.4
Contact author(s)
coflynn @ newae com
2016-04-11: last of 2 revisions
2015-06-05: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Colin O'Flynn and Zhizhang Chen},
      title = {Power Analysis Attacks against {IEEE} 802.15.4 Nodes},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2015/529},
      year = {2015},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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