Masking the energy behavior of des encryption

H. Saputra, N. Vijaykrishnan, M. Kandemir, M. J. Irwin, R. Brooks, S. Kim, W. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Smart cards are vulnerable to both invasive and non-invasive attacks. Specifically, non-invasive attacks using power and timing measurements to extract the cryptographic key has drawn a lot of negative publicity for smart card usage. The power measurement techniques rely on the data-dependent energy behavior of the underlying system. Further, power analysis can be used to identify the specific portions of the program being executed to induce timing glitches that may in turn help to bypass key checking. Thus, it is important to mask the energy consumption when executing the encryption algorithms. In this work, we augment the instruction set architecture of a simple five-stage pipelined smart card processor with secure instructions to mask the energy differences due to key-related data-dependent computations in DES encryption. The secure versions operate on the normal and complementary versions of the operands simultaneously to mask the energy variations due to value dependent operations. However, this incurs the penalty of increased overall energy consumption in the data-path components. Consequently, we employ secure versions of instructions only for critical operations; that is we use secure instructions selectively, as directed by an optimizing compiler. Using a cycle-accurate energy simulator, we demonstrate the effectiveness of this enhancement. Our approach achieves the energy masking of critical operations consuming 83% less energy as compared to existing approaches employing dual rail circuits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1253591
Pages (from-to)84-89
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings -Design, Automation and Test in Europe, DATE
StatePublished - 2003
EventDesign, Automation and Test in Europe Conference and Exhibition, DATE 2003 - Munich, Germany
Duration: Mar 3 2003Mar 7 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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