Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2018/676

Static Power Side-Channel Analysis - A Survey on Measurement Factors

Thorben Moos and Amir Moradi and Bastian Richter

Abstract: The static power consumption of modern CMOS devices has become a substantial concern in the context of the side-channel security of cryptographic hardware. Its continuous growth in nanometer-scaled technologies is not only inconvenient for effective low power designs, but does also create a new target for power analysis adversaries. Additionally, it has to be noted that several of the numerous sources of static power dissipation in CMOS circuits exhibit an exponential dependency on environmental factors which a classical power analysis adversary is in control of much in contrast to the dynamic power consumption. These factors include the operating conditions temperature and supply voltage. Furthermore, in case of clock control, the measurement interval can be adjusted to arbitrarily enhance the measurement quality. We investigate the influence of each of these factors on our ability to exploit the data-dependent leakage currents in a 150nm CMOS ASIC prototype chip and provide results that once again show how fatal it can be to neglect this source of information leakage. With respect to the signal-to-noise ratio as a common metric in side-channel analysis we are able to demonstrate that increasing the measurement interval exponentially decreases the noise and even more importantly that increasing the working temperature exponentially increases the signal. Control over the supply voltage has a far smaller, but still noticeable, positive impact on the exploitability of the leakage currents as well. In summary, a static power analysis adversary can physically force a device to leak more information by controlling its operating environment and furthermore measure these leakages with arbitrary precision by modifying the interval length.

Category / Keywords: implementation / static power side-channel analysis leakage operating conditions temperature voltage

Date: received 9 Jul 2018, last revised 18 Jul 2018

Contact author: Thorben Moos at rub de

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Version: 20180718:153519 (All versions of this report)

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