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Dividing the threshold: Multi-probe localized EM analysis on threshold implementations

: Specht, R.; Immler, V.; Unterstein, F.; Heyszl, J.; Sig, G.


IEEE Computer Society; IEEE Computer Society, Test Technology Technical Council -TTTC-; IEEE Computer Society, Technical Committee on Security and Privacy:
IEEE International Symposium on Hardware Oriented Security and Trust, HOST 2018. Proceedings : April 30-4 May 2018, The Ritz-Carlton Washington DC, USA
Piscataway, NJ: IEEE, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-5386-4731-8
ISBN: 978-1-5386-4732-5
International Symposium on Hardware-Oriented Security and Trust (HOST) <11, 2018, Washington/DC>
Fraunhofer AISEC ()

Cryptographic implementations typically need to be secured to retain their secrets in the presence of attacks. As a countermeasure to prevent side-channel attacks, threshold implementations are a commonly encountered concept. They resemble a multi-party computation, where the value is split in independent shares and processed separately. In this work, we challenge the underlying security assumption that observing these individually processed values is difficult. We observe leakage by spatially separating the shares on an FPGA using multiple electro-magnetic (EM) probes simultaneously for localized EM analysis. We experimentally verify that the security gain is 238 times less with this method when compared to the power side-channel. In total, we only need 4,300 traces to break a second-order secure implementation. Moreover, such a reduction in protection level is only possible when using multiple probes and applying our attack strategy which is based on state-of-the-art template attacks. This attack can easily be carried out by any attacker at the expense of buying more probes which emphasizes the danger of such attacks.