Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2020/1347

A Systematic Appraisal of Side Channel Evaluation Strategies

Melissa Azouaoui and Davide Bellizia and Ileana Buhan and Nicolas Debande and Sebastien Duval and Christophe Giraud and Eliane Jaulmes and Francois Koeune and Elisabeth Oswald and Francois-Xavier Standaert and Carolyn Whitnall

Abstract: In this paper we examine the central question that is how well do side channel evaluation regimes capture the true security level of a product. Concretely, answering this question requires considering the optimality of the attack/evaluation strategy selected by the evaluator, and the various steps to instantiate it. We draw on a number of published works and discuss whether state-of-the-art solutions for the different steps of a side-channel security evaluation offer bounds or guarantees of optimality, or if they are inherently heuristic. We use this discussion to provide an informal rating of the steps' optimality and to put forward where risks of overstated security levels remain.

Category / Keywords: implementation / side channel attacks, evaluation, certification, common criteria, FIPS 140

Original Publication (in the same form): Security Standardisation Research Conference (SSR) 2020

Date: received 26 Oct 2020

Contact author: Elisabeth Oswald at aau at

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20201029:145234 (All versions of this report)

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