Statistical Fault Attacks on Nonce-Based Authenticated Encryption Schemes

  • Christoph Dobraunig
  • Maria Eichlseder
  • Thomas Korak
  • Victor Lomné
  • Florian MendelEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10031)


Since the first demonstration of fault attacks by Boneh et al. on RSA, a multitude of fault attack techniques on various cryptosystems have been proposed. Most of these techniques, like Differential Fault Analysis, Safe Error Attacks, and Collision Fault Analysis, have the requirement to process two inputs that are either identical or related, in order to generate pairs of correct/faulty ciphertexts. However, when targeting authenticated encryption schemes, this is in practice usually precluded by the unique nonce required by most of these schemes.

In this work, we present the first practical fault attacks on several nonce-based authenticated encryption modes for AES. This includes attacks on the ISO/IEC standards GCM, CCM, EAX, and OCB, as well as several second-round candidates of the ongoing CAESAR competition. All attacks are based on the Statistical Fault Attacks by Fuhr et al., which use a biased fault model and just operate on collections of faulty ciphertexts. Hereby, we put effort in reducing the assumptions made regarding the capabilities of an attacker as much as possible. In the attacks, we only assume that we are able to influence some byte (or a larger structure) of the internal AES state before the last application of MixColumns, so that the value of this byte is afterwards non-uniformly distributed.

In order to show the practical relevance of Statistical Fault Attacks and for evaluating our assumptions on the capabilities of an attacker, we perform several fault-injection experiments targeting real hardware. For instance, laser fault injections targeting an AES co-processor of a smartcard microcontroller, which is used to implement modes like GCM or CCM, show that 4 bytes (resp. all 16 bytes) of the last round key can be revealed with a small number of faulty ciphertexts.


Fault attacks Authenticated encryption CAESAR Differential Fault Attacks (DFA) Statistical Fault Attacks (SFA) 



The authors would like to thank the organizers and participants of ASK 2015 that initiated this work and the anonymous reviewers for useful comments.

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 644052 (HECTOR).

Furthermore, this work has been supported in part by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) under grant number 845589, by the Austrian Science Fund (project P26494-N15) and by the French ANR-14-CE28-0015 project.

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© International Association for Cryptologic Research 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph Dobraunig
    • 1
  • Maria Eichlseder
    • 1
  • Thomas Korak
    • 1
  • Victor Lomné
    • 2
  • Florian Mendel
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Graz University of TechnologyGrazAustria
  2. 2.ANSSIParisFrance

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