Side-Channel Analysis of Cryptographic RFIDs with Analog Demodulation

  • Timo Kasper
  • David Oswald
  • Christof Paar
Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-25286-0_5

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (volume 7055)
Cite this paper as:
Kasper T., Oswald D., Paar C. (2012) Side-Channel Analysis of Cryptographic RFIDs with Analog Demodulation. In: Juels A., Paar C. (eds) RFID. Security and Privacy. RFIDSec 2011. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 7055. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

Abstract

As most modern cryptographic Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) devices are based on ciphers that are secure from a purely theoretical point of view, e.g., (Triple-)DES or AES, adversaries have been adopting new methods to extract secret information and cryptographic keys from contactless smartcards: Side-Channel Analysis (SCA) targets the physical implementation of a cipher and allows to recover secret keys by exploiting a side-channel, for instance, the electro-magnetic (EM) emanation of an Integrated Circuit (IC). In this paper we present an analog demodulator specifically designed for refining the SCA of contactless smartcards. The customized analogue hardware increases the quality of EM measurements, facilitates the processing of the side-channel leakage and can serve as a plug-in component to enhance any existing SCA laboratory. Employing it to obtain power profiles of several real-world cryptographic RFIDs, we demonstrate the effectiveness of our measurement setup and evaluate the improvement of our new analog technique compared to previously proposed approaches. Using the example of the popular Mifare DESFire MF3ICD40 contactless smartcard, we show that commercial RFID devices are susceptible to the proposed SCA methods. The security analyses presented in this paper do not require expensive equipment and demonstrate that SCA poses a severe threat to many real-world systems. This novel attack vector has to be taken into account when employing contactless smartcards in security-sensitive applications, e.g., for wireless payment or identification.

Keywords

contactless smartcards side-channel analyis implementation attacks hardware security DESFire MF3ICD40 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timo Kasper
    • 1
  • David Oswald
    • 1
  • Christof Paar
    • 1
  1. 1.Horst Görtz Institute for IT SecurityRuhr-University BochumGermany

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