From New Technologies to New Solutions

Exploiting FRAM Memories to Enhance Physical Security
  • Stéphanie Kerckhof
  • François-Xavier Standaert
  • Eric Peeters
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8419)


Ferroelectric RAM (FRAM) is a promising non-volatile memory technology that is now available in low-end microcontrollers. Its main advantages over Flash memories are faster write performances and much larger tolerated number of write/erase cycles. These properties are profitable for the efficient implementation of side-channel countermeasures exploiting pre-computations. In this paper, we illustrate the interest of FRAM-based microcontrollers for physically secure cryptographic hardware with two case studies. First we consider a recent shuffling scheme for the AES algorithm, exploiting randomized program memories. We exhibit significant performance gains over previous results in an Atmel microcontroller, thanks to the fine-grained programmability of FRAM. Next and most importantly, we propose the first working implementation of the “masking with randomized look-up table” countermeasure, applied to reduced versions of the block cipher LED. This implementation provides unconditional security against side-channel attacks (of all orders!) under the assumption that pre-computations can be performed without leakage. It also provides high security levels in cases where this assumption is relaxed (e.g. for context or performance reasons).



Stéphanie Kerckhof is a PhD student funded by a FRIA grant, Belgium. François-Xavier Standaert is a research associate of the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS-F.R.S.). This work has been funded in parts by the Walloon region WIST program project MIPSs, by the European Commission through the ERC project 280141 (acronym CRASH) and by the European ISEC action grant HOME/2010/ISEC/AG/INT-011 B-CCENTRE.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stéphanie Kerckhof
    • 1
  • François-Xavier Standaert
    • 1
  • Eric Peeters
    • 2
  1. 1.ICTEAM/ELEN/Crypto GroupUniversité Catholique de LouvainCharleroiBelgium
  2. 2.Texas InstrumentsDallasUSA

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