doi: 10.7873/DATE.2015.0135

Reliable Information Extraction for Single Trace Attacks

Valentina Banciua, Elisabeth Oswaldb and Carolyn Whitnallc

Department of Computer Science, University of Bristol, MVB, Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UB, UK.


Side-channel attacks using only a single trace crucially rely on the capability of reliably extracting side-channel information (e.g. Hamming weights of intermediate target values) from traces. In particular, in original versions of simple power analysis (SPA) or algebraic side channel attacks (ASCA) it was assumed that an adversary can correctly extract the Hamming weight values for all the intermediates used in an attack. Recent developments in error tolerant SPA style attacks relax this unrealistic requirement on the information extraction and bring renewed interest to the topic of template building or training suitable machine learning classifiers.
In this work we ask which classifiers or methods, if any, are most likely to return the true Hamming weight among their first (say s) ranked outputs. We experiment on two data sets with different leakage characteristics. Our experiments show that the most suitable classifiers to reach the required performance for pragmatic SPA attacks are Gaussian templates, Support Vector Machines and Random Forests, across the two data sets that we considered. We found no configuration that was able to satisfy the requirements of an error tolerant ASCA in case of complex leakage.

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