Paper 2018/651

Side-Channel Analysis of SM2: A Late-Stage Featurization Case Study

Nicola Tuveri, Sohaib ul Hassan, Cesar Pereida García, and Billy Brumley


SM2 is a public key cryptography suite originating from Chinese standards, including digital signatures and public key encryption. Ahead of schedule, code for this functionality was recently mainlined in OpenSSL, marked for the upcoming 1.1.1 release. We perform a security review of this implementation, uncovering various deficiencies ranging from traditional software quality issues to side-channel risks. To assess the latter, we carry out a side-channel security evaluation and discover that the implementation hits every pitfall seen for OpenSSL's ECDSA code in the past decade. We carry out remote timings, cache timings, and EM analysis, with accompanying empirical data to demonstrate secret information leakage during execution of both digital signature generation and public key decryption. Finally, we propose, implement, and empirically evaluate countermeasures.

Note: Revised with the final version published as open access in the proceedings.

Available format(s)
Public-key cryptography
Publication info
Published elsewhere. 2018 Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC ’18), December 3–7, 2018, San Juan, PR, USA. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 14 pages
applied cryptographypublic-key cryptographyside-channel analysistiming attackscache-timing attackspower analysisTVLASM2OpenSSLapplied cryptographycryptanalysis
Contact author(s)
nicola tuveri @ tut fi
2018-12-21: revised
2018-07-06: received
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Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Nicola Tuveri and Sohaib ul Hassan and Cesar Pereida García and Billy Brumley},
      title = {Side-Channel Analysis of SM2: A Late-Stage Featurization Case Study},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2018/651},
      year = {2018},
      doi = {10.1145/3274694.3274725},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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