Paper 2017/413

Correlation Power Analysis Attack against STT-MRAM Based Cyptosystems

Abhishek Chakraborty, Ankit Mondal, and Ankur Srivastava


Emerging technologies such as Spin-transfer torque magnetic random-access memory (STT-MRAM) are considered potential candidates for implementing low-power, high density storage systems. The vulnerability of such nonvolatile memory (NVM) based cryptosystems to standard side-channel attacks must be thoroughly assessed before deploying them in practice. In this paper, we outline a generic Correlation Power Analysis (CPA) attack strategy against STT-MRAM based cryptographic designs using a new power model. In our proposed attack methodology, an adversary exploits the power consumption patterns during the write operation of an STT-MRAM based cryptographic implementation to successfully retrieve the secret key. In order to validate our proposed attack technique, we mounted a CPA attack on MICKEY-128 2.0 stream cipher design consisting of STT-MRAM cells with Magnetic Tunnel Junctions (MTJs) as storage elements. The results of the experiments show that the STT-MRAM based implementation of the cipher circuit is susceptible to standard differential power analysis attack strategy provided a suitable hypothetical power model (such as the one proposed in this paper) is selected. In addition, we also investigated the effectiveness of state-of-the-art side-channel attack countermeasures for MRAMs and found that our proposed scheme is able to break such protected implementations as well.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Published elsewhere. MAJOR revision.IEEE International Symposium on Hardware Oriented Security and Trust (HOST) 2017
Correlation power analysis attackSpin-transfer torque magnetic RAMMICKEY-128 2.0 stream cipher
Contact author(s)
abhi1990 @ terpmail umd edu
2017-05-14: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Abhishek Chakraborty and Ankit Mondal and Ankur Srivastava},
      title = {Correlation Power Analysis Attack against STT-MRAM Based Cyptosystems},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2017/413},
      year = {2017},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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