Paper 2023/1647

Who Watches the Watchers: Attacking Glitch Detection Circuits

Amund Askeland, University of Bergen, Nasjonal Sikkerhetsmyndighet
Svetla Nikova, KU Leuven
Ventzislav Nikov, NXP (Belgium)

Over the last decades, fault injection attacks have been demonstrated to be an effective method for breaking the security of electronic devices. Some types of fault injection attacks, like clock and voltage glitching, require very few resources by the attacker and are practical and simple to execute. A cost-effective countermeasure against these attacks is the use of a detector circuit which detects timing violations - the underlying effect that glitch attacks rely on. In this paper, we take a closer look at three examples of such detectors that have been presented in the literature. We demonstrate four high-speed clock glitching attacks, which successfully inject faults in systems, where detectors have been implemented to protect. The attacks remain unnoticed by the glitch detectors. We verify our attacks with practical experiments on an FPGA.

Available format(s)
Attacks and cryptanalysis
Publication info
Published by the IACR in TCHES 2024
fault analysisglitch detectorsclock glitching attacks
Contact author(s)
amund askeland @ uib no
svetla nikova @ esat kuleuven be
venci nikov @ gmail com
2023-10-26: approved
2023-10-24: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Amund Askeland and Svetla Nikova and Ventzislav Nikov},
      title = {Who Watches the Watchers: Attacking Glitch Detection Circuits},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2023/1647},
      year = {2023},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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