Journal of Cryptographic Engineering

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 71–77

Synchronization method for SCA and fault attacks

Regular Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s13389-011-0004-0

Cite this article as:
Skorobogatov, S. J Cryptogr Eng (2011) 1: 71. doi:10.1007/s13389-011-0004-0


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 attacksHardware securityFrequency injection lockingPower analysis

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Cambridge Computer LaboratoryCambridgeUK