Hardware Countermeasures Benchmarking against Fault Attacks

Researchers examine fault injection techniques and requirements to apply DFA (Differential Fault Analysis). Also countermeasure to protect against DFA.


“The development of differential fault analysis (DFA) techniques and mechanisms to inject faults into cryptographic circuits brings with it the need to use protection mechanisms that guarantee the expected level of security. The AES cipher, as a standard, has been the target of numerous DFA techniques, where its security has been compromised through different formulations and types of fault injections. These attacks have shown vulnerabilities of different AES implementations and building blocks. Consequently, several solutions have been proposed that provide additional protection to cover the identified vulnerabilities. In this paper, an extensive analysis has been carried out covering the existing fault injection techniques, the types of faults, and the requirements needed to apply DFA. Additionally, an analysis of the countermeasures reported in the literature is also presented, considering the protection provided, the type of faults considered, and the coverage against fault attacks. The eight different types of fault that allow us to perform DFAs on the AES cipher have been differentiated, as well as the vulnerabilities of the cipher. On the other hand, two comparisons have been made considering frequency penalty vs. area and fault coverage vs. area and frequency overhead. A metric has been proposed to compare the fault coverage of all the proposed solutions. To conclude, a final analysis is presented discussing the key aspects when choosing a particular solution and the possible development of new countermeasures to provide further protection against DFA.”

Find the open access technical paper here.

Potestad-Ordóñez, F.E.; Tena-Sánchez, E.; Acosta-Jiménez, A.J.; Jiménez-Fernández, C.J.; Chaves, R. Hardware Countermeasures Benchmarking against Fault Attacks. Appl. Sci. 2022, 12, 2443. https://doi.org/10.3390/app12052443.

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