Regular Paper

Journal of Cryptographic Engineering

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 71-77

First online:

Synchronization method for SCA and fault attacks

  • Sergei SkorobogatovAffiliated withUniversity of Cambridge Computer Laboratory Email author 

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This paper shows how effectiveness of side-channel and fault attacks can be improved for devices running from internal clock sources. Due to frequency instability of internally clocked chips, attacking them was always a great challenge. A significant improvement was achieved by using a frequency injection locking technique via the power supply line of a chip. As a result, the analysis of a semiconductor chip can be accomplished with less effort and in shorter time. Successful synchronization was demonstrated on a secure microcontroller and a secure FPGA. This paper presents research into limits for synchronization and discusses possible countermeasures against frequency injection attacks.


Side-channel attacks Hardware security Frequency injection locking Power analysis