Power Analysis Attacks Against FPGA Implementations of the DES

  • François-Xavier Standaert
  • Sıddıka Berna Örs
  • Jean-Jacques Quisquater
  • Bart Preneel
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3203)


Cryptosystem designers frequently assume that secret parameters will be manipulated in tamper resistant environments. However, physical implementations can be extremely difficult to control and may result in the unintended leakage of side-channel information. In power analysis attacks, it is assumed that the power consumption is correlated to the data that is being processed. An attacker may therefore recover secret information by simply monitoring the power consumption of a device. Several articles have investigated power attacks in the context of smart card implementations. While FPGAs are becoming increasingly popular for cryptographic applications, there are only a few articles that assess their vulnerability to physical attacks. In this article, we demonstrate the specific properties of FPGAs w.r.t. Differential Power Analysis (DPA). First we emphasize that the original attack by Kocher et al. and the improvements by Brier et al. do not apply directly to FPGAs because their physical behavior differs substantially from that of smart cards. Then we generalize the DPA attack to FPGAs and provide strong evidence that FPGA implementations of the Data Encryption Standard (DES) are vulnerable to such attacks.


Power Consumption Selection Function Smart Card Block Cipher FPGA Implementation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • François-Xavier Standaert
    • 1
  • Sıddıka Berna Örs
    • 2
  • Jean-Jacques Quisquater
    • 1
  • Bart Preneel
    • 2
  1. 1.UCL Crypto Group, Laboratoire de MicroélectroniqueUniversité Catholique de LouvainLouvain-La-NeuveBelgium
  2. 2.Dept.ESAT/SCD-COSICKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuven-HeverleeBelgium

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