Paper 2023/1108

It's a Kind of Magic: A Novel Conditional GAN Framework for Efficient Profiling Side-channel Analysis

Sengim Karayalcin, Leiden University
Marina Krcek, Delft University of Technology
Lichao Wu, Radboud University Nijmegen
Stjepan Picek, Radboud University Nijmegen
Guilherme Perin, Leiden University

Profiling side-channel analysis is an essential technique to assess the security of protected cryptographic implementations by subjecting them to the worst-case security analysis. This approach assumes the presence of a highly capable adversary with knowledge of countermeasures and randomness employed by the target device. However, black-box profiling attacks are commonly employed when aiming to emulate real-world scenarios. These attacks leverage deep learning as a prominent alternative since deep neural networks can automatically select points of interest, eliminating the need for secret mask knowledge. Nevertheless, black-box profiling attacks often result in non-worst-case security evaluations, leading to suboptimal profiling models. In this study, we propose modifying the conventional black-box threat model by incorporating a new assumption: the adversary possesses a similar implementation that can be used as a white-box reference design. We create an adversarial dataset by extracting features or points of interest from this reference design. These features are then utilized for training a novel conditional generative adversarial network (CGAN) framework, enabling a generative model to extract features from high-order leakages in protected implementation without any assumptions about the masking scheme or secret masks. Our framework empowers attackers to perform efficient black-box profiling attack that achieves (and even surpasses) the performance of the worst-case security assessments.

Available format(s)
Attacks and cryptanalysis
Publication info
Side-Channel AnalysisDeep LearningGenerative AI
Contact author(s)
s karayalcin @ liacs leidenuniv nl
m krcek @ tudelft nl
l wu-4 @ tudelft nl
stjepan picek @ ru nl
guilhermeperin7 @ gmail com
2023-07-17: approved
2023-07-16: received
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      author = {Sengim Karayalcin and Marina Krcek and Lichao Wu and Stjepan Picek and Guilherme Perin},
      title = {It's a Kind of Magic: A Novel Conditional GAN Framework for Efficient Profiling Side-channel Analysis},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2023/1108},
      year = {2023},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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