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Computers 2018, 7(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers7020028

Comparing the Cost of Protecting Selected Lightweight Block Ciphers against Differential Power Analysis in Low-Cost FPGAs

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA
This paper is an extended version of our paper published in the International Conference on Field-Programmable Technologies (FPT 2017).
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Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 9 April 2018 / Published: 23 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reconfigurable Computing Technologies and Applications)
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Abstract

Lightweight block ciphers are an important topic in the Internet of Things (IoT) since they provide moderate security while requiring fewer resources than the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Ongoing cryptographic contests and standardization efforts evaluate lightweight block ciphers on their resistance to power analysis side channel attack (SCA), and the ability to apply countermeasures. While some ciphers have been individually evaluated, a large-scale comparison of resistance to side channel attack and the formulation of absolute and relative costs of implementing countermeasures is difficult, since researchers typically use varied architectures, optimization strategies, technologies, and evaluation techniques. In this research, we leverage the Test Vector Leakage Assessment (TVLA) methodology and the FOBOS SCA framework to compare FPGA implementations of AES, SIMON, SPECK, PRESENT, LED, and TWINE, using a choice of architecture targeted to optimize throughput-to-area (TP/A) ratio and suitable for introducing countermeasures to Differential Power Analysis (DPA). We then apply an equivalent level of protection to the above ciphers using 3-share threshold implementations (TI) and verify the improved resistance to DPA. We find that SIMON has the highest absolute TP/A ratio of protected versions, as well as the lowest relative cost of protection in terms of TP/A ratio. Additionally, PRESENT uses the least energy per bit (E/bit) of all protected implementations, while AES has the lowest relative cost of protection in terms of increased E/bit. View Full-Text
Keywords: block cipher; encryption; field programmable gate array; side channel attack; countermeasure; lightweight; TVLA; t-test; FOBOS block cipher; encryption; field programmable gate array; side channel attack; countermeasure; lightweight; TVLA; t-test; FOBOS
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Diehl, W.; Abdulgadir, A.; Kaps, J.-P.; Gaj, K. Comparing the Cost of Protecting Selected Lightweight Block Ciphers against Differential Power Analysis in Low-Cost FPGAs. Computers 2018, 7, 28.

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