Power Side Channels in Security ICs: Hardware Countermeasures

Lu Zhang, Luis Vega and Michael Taylor
August 29, 2015

Power side-channel attacks are a very effective cryptanalysis technique that can infer secret keys of security ICs by monitoring a chip’s power consumption. Since the emergence of practical attacks in the late 90s, they have been a major threat to many cryptographic-equipped devices including smart cards, encrypted FPGA designs, and mobile phones. Designers and manufacturers of cryptographic devices have in response developed various countermeasures for protection. Attacking methods have also evolved to counteract resistant implementations. This paper reviews foundational power analysis attack techniques and examines a variety of hardware design mitigations. The aim is to highlight exposed vulnerabilities in hardware-based countermeasures for future more secure implementations.

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