Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2018/203

Impeccable Circuits

Anita Aghaie and Amir Moradi and Shahram Rasoolzadeh and Falk Schellenberg and Tobias Schneider

Abstract: Active physical attacks pose a serious threat to cryptographic hardware, i.e., by injecting faults during the computation. The tools to inject such faults have evolved over the last years and are becoming increasingly powerful. A promising approach to thwart this type of attacks is employing Concurrent Error Detection (CED) schemes. They are usually based on an Error-Detecting Code (EDC) which provides the capability to detect certain injected faults. Depending on the assumed adversary model, the potency of the CED scheme can be adapted during the design phase by adjusting the underlying code. In this work, we propose a methodology to enable a correct, practical, and robust implementation of code-based CED schemes. Indeed, we show that a straightforward hardware implementation of a given code-based CED scheme very likely suffers from severe vulnerabilities and does not provide the desired level of protection against fault attacks. In particular, the propagation of faults into the combinatorial logic is often not considered in the security evaluation of these schemes. First, we formally define this detrimental effect and demonstrate its impact on the security of common CED schemes. Second, we introduce an implementation strategy to limit the negative effect of fault propagation. Third, in contrast to many other works where the fault coverage of an implementation equipped with an EDC is considered, we present a detailed implementation strategy which - based on the specification of the underlying EDC - can guarantee (i.e., 100% coverage rate) the detection of any fault. Fitting to the defined adversary model, this holds for any time of the computation and any location of the circuit - both in the data processing and in the control part. In short, we provide practical guidelines how to construct efficient CED schemes with arbitrary EDCs to achieve the desired level of protection against fault attacks. We evaluate the efficiency of our methodology in a case study considering several symmetric block ciphers (i.e., PRESENT, Skinny, Midori, GIFT, LED, and SIMON) for different design architectures and various linear EDCs with different fault detection capabilities.

Category / Keywords: implementation / Fault Attack, Fault Coverage, Error Detecting Code, Concurrent Error Detection

Date: received 19 Feb 2018

Contact author: amir moradi at rub de

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20180222:155535 (All versions of this report)

Short URL: ia.cr/2018/203

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