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Improving DPA security by using globally-asynchronous locally-synchronous systems

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5 Author(s)
F. Gurkaynak ; Integrated Syst. Lab., ETH, Zurich, Switzerland ; S. Oetiker ; H. Kaeslin ; N. Felber
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Side channel analysis attacks, and particularly differential power analysis (DPA), pose a serious threat to cryptographic security. This is partly because the synchronous operation of traditional cipher hardware affords a fairly good correlation between the abstract power model used during analysis and the physical circuit under attack. As opposed to this, the globally-asynchronous locally-synchronous (GALS) AES cipher circuit discussed in this paper combines operation reordering and unpredictable latencies with three asynchronous clock domains and self-varying clock cycle times. Attackers are further confused by having functional units process random dummy data when idle. The design fabricated in a 0.25 μm CMOS technology comprises 39,000 gate-equivalents, occupies approximately 1 mm2 and achieves a peak throughput of more than 256 Mb/s.

Published in:

Proceedings of the 31st European Solid-State Circuits Conference, 2005. ESSCIRC 2005.

Date of Conference:

12-16 Sept. 2005