Paper 2018/291

Simulations of Optical Emissions for Attacking AES and Masked AES

Guido Marco Bertoni, Lorenzo Grassi, and Filippo Melzani


In this paper we present a novel attack based on photonic emission analysis targeting software implementations of AES. We focus on the particular case in which the attacker can collect the photonic emission of a limited number of sense amplifiers (e.g. only one) of the SRAM storing the S-Box. The attack consists in doing hypothesis on the secret key based on the knowledge of the partial output of the SubBytes operation. We also consider the possibility to attack a masked implementation of AES using the photonic emission analysis. In the case of masking, the attacker needs 2 leakages of the same encryption to overcome the randomization of the masks. For our analysis, we assume the same physical setup described in other previous works. Reported results are based on simulations with some hypothesis on the probability of photonic emission of a single transistor.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Published elsewhere. SPACE 2015
Photonic side channelSide channel analysisLight emissionAESBoolean MaskingChosen plaintext attackFull key recovery
Contact author(s)
lorenzo grassi @ iaik tugraz at
2018-03-28: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Guido Marco Bertoni and Lorenzo Grassi and Filippo Melzani},
      title = {Simulations of Optical Emissions for Attacking AES and Masked AES},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2018/291},
      year = {2018},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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