Paper 2021/055

Tech Report: Inerial HSMs Thwart Advanced Physical Attacks

Jan Sebastian Götte and Björn Scheuermann


In this tech report, we introduce a novel countermeasure against physical attacks: Inertial hardware security modules (iHSMs). Conventional systems have in common that they try to detect attacks by crafting sensors responding to increasingly minute manipulations of the monitored security boundary or volume. Our approach is novel in that we reduce the sensitivity requirement of security meshes and other sensors and increase the complexity of any manipulations by rotating the security mesh or sensor at high speed—thereby presenting a moving target to an attacker. Attempts to stop the rotation are easily monitored with commercial MEMS accelerometers and gyroscopes. Our approach leads to a HSM that can easily be built from off-the-shelf parts by any university electronics lab, yet offers a level of security that is comparable to commercial HSMs.

Note: This tech report is the abridged version of our forthcoming paper.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
hardware securityelectronic commerce and paymentimplementationkey managementhardware security modulessmart cards
Contact author(s)
hiig @ jaseg de
2021-01-18: received
Short URL
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      author = {Jan Sebastian Götte and Björn Scheuermann},
      title = {Tech Report: Inerial HSMs Thwart Advanced Physical Attacks},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/055},
      year = {2021},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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