Formally Bounding the Side-Channel Leakage in Unknown-Message Attacks

  • Michael Backes
  • Boris Köpf
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5283)


We propose a novel approach for quantifying a system’s resistance to unknown-message side-channel attacks. The approach is based on a measure of the secret information that an attacker can extract from a system from a given number of side-channel measurements. We provide an algorithm to compute this measure, and we use it to analyze the resistance of hardware implementations of cryptographic algorithms with respect to timing attacks. In particular, we show that message-blinding – the common countermeasure against timing attacks – reduces the rate at which information about the secret is leaked, but that the complete information is still eventually revealed. Finally, we compare information measures corresponding to unknown-message, known-message, and chosen-message attackers and show that they form a strict hierarchy.


Timing Attack Conditional Entropy Secret Information Attack Scenario Attack Strategy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Backes
    • 1
    • 2
  • Boris Köpf
    • 2
  1. 1.Saarland UniversityGermany
  2. 2.MPI-SWSGermany

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