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posted on 16.12.2020, 16:06 authored by Josef A DanialJosef A Danial
Side-channel analysis (SCA) is a prominent tool to break mathematically secure cryptographic engines, especially on resource-constrained devices. SCA attacks utilize physical leakage vectors like the power consumption, electromagnetic (EM) radiation, timing, cache hits/misses, that reduce the complexity of determining a secret key drastically, going from 2128 for brute force attacks to 212 for SCA in the case of AES-128. Additionally, EM SCA attacks can be performed non-invasively without any modifications to the target under attack, unlike power SCA. To develop defenses against EM SCA, designers must evaluate the cryptographic implementations against the most powerful side-channel attacks. In this work, systems and techniques that improve EM side-channel analysis have been explored, making it lower-cost and more accessible to the research community to develop better countermeasures against such attacks. The first chapter of this thesis presents SCNIFFER, a platform to perform efficient end-to-end EM SCA attacks. SCNIFFER introduces leakage localization – an often-overlooked step in EM attacks – into the loop of an attack. Following SCNIFFER, the second chapter presents a practical machine learning (ML) based EM SCA attack on AES-128. This attack addresses issues dealing with low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) EM measurements, proposing training and pre-processing techniques to perform an efficient profiling attack. In the final chapter, methods for mapping from power to EM measurements, are analyzed, which can enable training a ML model with much lower number of encryption traces. Additionally, SCA evaluation of high-level synthesis (HLS) based cryptographic algorithms is performed, along with the study of futuristic neural encryption techniques.


Degree Type

Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Shreyas Sen

Additional Committee Member 2

Avinash C. Kak

Additional Committee Member 3

Irith Pomeranz