Pre-processing power traces to defeat random clocking countermeasures

Pre-processing power traces to defeat random clocking countermeasures We describe a pre-processing correlation attack on an FPGA implementation of AES, protected with a random clocking countermeasure that exhibits complex variations in both the location and amplitude of the power consumption patterns of the AES rounds. It is demonstrated that the merged round patterns can be pre-processed to identify and extract the individual round amplitudes, enabling a successful power analysis attack. We show that the requirement of the random clocking countermeasure to provide a varying execution time between processing rounds can be exploited to select a sub-set of data where sufficient current decay has occurred, further improving the attack. In comparison with the countermeasure’s estimated¬†security¬†of 3 million traces from an integration attack, we show that through application of our proposed techniques that the countermeasure can now be broken with as few as 13k traces.

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