, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 123-144
Date: 03 Aug 2011

Univariate side channel attacks and leakage modeling

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Abstract

Differential power analysis is a powerful cryptanalytic technique that exploits information leaking from physical implementations of cryptographic algorithms. During the two last decades, numerous variations of the original principle have been published. In particular, the univariate case, where a single instantaneous leakage is exploited, has attracted much research effort. In this paper, we argue that several univariate attacks among the most frequently used by the community are not only asymptotically equivalent, but can also be rewritten one in function of the other, only by changing the leakage model used by the adversary. In particular, we prove that most univariate attacks proposed in the literature can be expressed as correlation power analyses with different leakage models. This result emphasizes the major role plays by the model choice on the attack efficiency. In a second point of this paper, we hence also discuss and evaluate side channel attacks that involve no leakage model but rely on some general assumptions about the leakage. Our experiments show that such attacks, named robust, are a valuable alternative to the univariate differential power analyses. They only loose bit of efficiency in case a perfect model is available to the adversary, and gain a lot in case such information is not available.

Research associate of the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS—F.R.S.).