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Since the vulnerability of cryptosystems to differential power analysis (DPA) was reported in 1999, various power analysis attacks and corresponding countermeasures have been studied. With the scaling down of supply voltage and CMOS technology below 90 nm, leakage power plays an increasing role in the overall power dissipation. Future cryptosystems need to address this trend, though it has not been of concern yet in low- cost cryptosystems such as smartcards and RFED tags which currently use older technologies and low performance transistors. In this paper, we explore the impact of leakage power on conventional DPA and the feasibility of a novel leakage-based DPA (LDPA). We first use SPICE simulations to explore the leakage dependence on input patterns of logic gates implemented in 90 nm, 65 nm, and 45 nm CMOS technologies. Then we simulate a successful LDPA on a subset of a DES cryptosystem with only 120 rounds, in contrast to the 200 rounds reported for a conventional DPA in 180 nm technology. Furthermore, we demonstrate how even a DES implementation using a DPA-resistant logic style can be broken with LDPA in 2000 rounds, compared with the conventional DPA using more than 5000 rounds.
Date of Conference: 18-21 May 2008