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Root-cause Analysis of Power-based Side-channel Leakage in Lightweight Cryptography Candidates

May 10, 2022


Zhenyuan Liu - Worcester Polytechnic Institute


We present a detailed analysis of the root cause of powerbased side-channel leakage in candidates of the NIST lightweight cryptography competition. We perform gate-level power simulation, and rank the contribution of individual cells to the overall side-channel leakage. The proposed leaky-gate selection proceeds in two steps. For a selected set of test vector stimuli, we first identify leaky points, which indicate the time stamps of maximum data-dependent variation in the power traces. Next, we rank the side-channel leakage of each individual cell according to their power-based standard deviation at the selected leaky points. We analyze the distribution of side-channel leakage over different cell types. We highlight the root causes of side-channel leakage at the gate level for selected NIST lightweight cryptographic candidates including a block cipher (GIFT-COFB), a sponge-based cipher Xoodyak) and a stream cipher (Grain-128). We compare these findings to a traditional AES implementation.

Presented at

LWC Workshop 2022

Event Details



Related Topics

Security and Privacy: cryptography

Created May 05, 2022, Updated May 11, 2022