Paper 2021/1316

Towards Human Dependency Elimination: AI Approach to SCA Robustness Assessment

Unai Rioja, Lejla Batina, Igor Armendariz, and Jose Luis Flores


Evaluating the side-channel resistance of a device in practice is a problematic and arduous process. Current certification schemes require to attack the device under test with an ever-growing number of techniques to validate its security. In addition, the success or failure of these techniques strongly depends on the individual implementing them, due to the fallible and human intrinsic nature of several steps of this path. To alleviate this problem, we propose a battery of automated attacks as a side-channel analysis robustness assessment of an embedded device. To prove our approach, we conduct realistic experiments on two different devices, creating a new dataset (AES_RA) as a part of our contribution. Furthermore, we propose a novel way of performing these attacks using Principal Component Analysis, which also serves as an alternative way of selecting optimal principal components automatically. In addition, we perform a detailed analysis of automated attacks against masked AES implementations, comparing our method with the state-of-the-art approaches and proposing two novel initialization techniques to overcome its limitations in this scenario. We support our claims with experiments on AES_RA and a public dataset (ASCAD), showing how our, although fully automated, approach can straightforwardly provide state-of-the-art results.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Preprint. Minor revision.
SCAProfiling AttacksTemplate attacksEDAsEvaluation
Contact author(s)
urioja @ ikerlan es
2021-09-30: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Unai Rioja and Lejla Batina and Igor Armendariz and Jose Luis Flores},
      title = {Towards Human Dependency Elimination: AI Approach to SCA Robustness Assessment},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/1316},
      year = {2021},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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