Paper 2021/067

Analysis and Comparison of Table-based Arithmetic to Boolean Masking

Michiel Van Beirendonck, Jan-Pieter D’Anvers, and Ingrid Verbauwhede


Masking is a popular technique to protect cryptographic implementations against side-channel attacks and comes in several variants including Boolean and arithmetic masking. Some masked implementations require conversion between these two variants, which is increasingly the case for masking of post-quantum encryption and signature schemes. One way to perform Arithmetic to Boolean (A2B) mask conversion is a table-based approach first introduced by Coron and Tchulkine, and later corrected and adapted by Debraize in CHES 2012. In this work, we show both analytically and experimentally that the table-based A2B conversion algorithm proposed by Debraize does not achieve the claimed resistance against differential power analysis due to a non-uniform masking of an intermediate variable. This non-uniformity is hard to find analytically but leads to clear leakage in experimental validation. To address the non-uniform masking issue, we propose two new A2B conversions: one that maintains efficiency at the cost of additional memory and one that trades efficiency for a reduced memory footprint. We give analytical and experimental evidence for their security, and will make their implementations, which are shown to be free from side-channel leakage in 100.000 power traces collected on the ARM Cortex-M4, available online. We conclude that when designing side-channel protection mechanisms, it is of paramount importance to perform both a theoretical analysis and an experimental validation of the method.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Published by the IACR in TCHES 2021
MaskingA2B conversionARM Cortex-M4Post-Quantum Cryptography
Contact author(s)
michiel vanbeirendonck @ esat kuleuven be
janpieter danvers @ esat kuleuven be
2021-04-15: revised
2021-01-22: received
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      author = {Michiel Van Beirendonck and Jan-Pieter D’Anvers and Ingrid Verbauwhede},
      title = {Analysis and Comparison of Table-based Arithmetic to Boolean Masking},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/067},
      year = {2021},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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