Side-Channel Attacks Meet Secure Network Protocols

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10355)


Side-channel attacks are powerful tools for breaking systems that implement cryptographic algorithms. The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is widely used to secure data, including the communication within various network protocols. Major cryptographic libraries such as OpenSSL or ARM mbed TLS include at least one implementation of the AES. In this paper, we show that most implementations of the AES present in popular open-source cryptographic libraries are vulnerable to side-channel attacks, even in a network protocol scenario when the attacker has limited control of the input. We present an algorithm for symbolic processing of the AES state for any input configuration where several input bytes are variable and known, while the rest are fixed and unknown as is the case in most secure network protocols. Then, we classify all possible inputs into 25 independent evaluation cases depending on the number of bytes controlled by attacker and the number of rounds that must be attacked to recover the master key. Finally, we describe an optimal algorithm that can be used to recover the master key using Correlation Power Analysis (CPA) attacks. Our experimental results raise awareness of the insecurity of unprotected implementations of the AES used in network protocol stacks.


Side-channel attack Secure network protocol CPA AES 



We would like to thank the ACNS 2017 reviewers for their valuable feedback and Johann Großschädl for proofreading the final version of this paper. The work of Daniel Dinu is supported by the CORE project ACRYPT (ID C12-15-4009992) funded by the Fonds National de la Recherche (FNR) Luxembourg.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SnTUniversity of LuxembourgEsch-sur-AlzetteLuxembourg

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