The Best of Two Worlds: Deep Learning-assisted Template Attack
In the last decade, machine learning-based side-channel attacks have become a standard option when investigating profiling side-channel attacks. At the same time, the previous state-of-the-art technique, template attack, started losing its importance and was more considered a baseline to compare against. As such, most of the results reported that machine learning (and especially deep learning) could significantly outperform the template attack. Nevertheless, the template attack still has certain advantages even compared to deep learning. The most significant one is that it has only a few hyperparameters to tune, making it easier to use. We take another look at the template attack, and we devise a feature engineering phase allowing the template attack to compete or even outperform state-of-the-art deep learning-based side-channel attacks. More precisely, with a novel distance metric customized for side-channel analysis, we show how a deep learning technique called similarity learning can be used to find highly efficient embeddings of input data with one-epoch training, which can then be fed into the template attack resulting in powerful attacks.
Reinforcement Learning for Hyperparameter Tuning in Deep Learning-based Side-channel Analysis 📺
Deep learning represents a powerful set of techniques for profiling sidechannel analysis. The results in the last few years show that neural network architectures like multilayer perceptron and convolutional neural networks give strong attack performance where it is possible to break targets protected with various countermeasures. Considering that deep learning techniques commonly have a plethora of hyperparameters to tune, it is clear that such top attack results can come with a high price in preparing the attack. This is especially problematic as the side-channel community commonly uses random search or grid search techniques to look for the best hyperparameters.In this paper, we propose to use reinforcement learning to tune the convolutional neural network hyperparameters. In our framework, we investigate the Q-Learning paradigm and develop two reward functions that use side-channel metrics. We mount an investigation on three commonly used datasets and two leakage models where the results show that reinforcement learning can find convolutional neural networks exhibiting top performance while having small numbers of trainable parameters. We note that our approach is automated and can be easily adapted to different datasets. Several of our newly developed architectures outperform the current state-of-the-art results. Finally, we make our source code publicly available. https://github.com/AISyLab/Reinforcement-Learning-for-SCA
Strength in Numbers: Improving Generalization with Ensembles in Machine Learning-based Profiled Side-channel Analysis 📺
The adoption of deep neural networks for profiled side-channel attacks provides powerful options for leakage detection and key retrieval of secure products. When training a neural network for side-channel analysis, it is expected that the trained model can implement an approximation function that can detect leaking side-channel samples and, at the same time, be insensible to noisy (or non-leaking) samples. This outlines a generalization situation where the model can identify the main representations learned from the training set in a separate test set.This paper discusses how output class probabilities represent a strong metric when conducting the side-channel analysis. Further, we observe that these output probabilities are sensitive to small changes, like selecting specific test traces or weight initialization for a neural network. Next, we discuss the hyperparameter tuning, where one commonly uses only a single out of dozens of trained models, where each of those models will result in different output probabilities. We show how ensembles of machine learning models based on averaged class probabilities can improve generalization. Our results emphasize that ensembles increase a profiled side-channel attack’s performance and reduce the variance of results stemming from different hyperparameters, regardless of the selected dataset or leakage model.
Remove Some Noise: On Pre-processing of Side-channel Measurements with Autoencoders 📺
In the profiled side-channel analysis, deep learning-based techniques proved to be very successful even when attacking targets protected with countermeasures. Still, there is no guarantee that deep learning attacks will always succeed. Various countermeasures make attacks significantly more complex, and such countermeasures can be further combined to make the attacks even more challenging. An intuitive solution to improve the performance of attacks would be to reduce the effect of countermeasures.This paper investigates whether we can consider certain types of hiding countermeasures as noise and then use a deep learning technique called the denoising autoencoder to remove that noise. We conduct a detailed analysis of six different types of noise and countermeasures separately or combined and show that denoising autoencoder improves the attack performance significantly.
Keep it Unsupervised: Horizontal Attacks Meet Deep Learning 📺
To mitigate side-channel attacks, real-world implementations of public-key cryptosystems adopt state-of-the-art countermeasures based on randomization of the private or ephemeral keys. Usually, for each private key operation, a “scalar blinding” is performed using 32 or 64 randomly generated bits. Nevertheless, horizontal attacks based on a single trace still pose serious threats to protected ECC or RSA implementations. If the secrets learned through a single-trace attack contain too many wrong (or noisy) bits, the cryptanalysis methods for recovering remaining bits become impractical due to time and computational constraints. This paper proposes a deep learning-based framework to iteratively correct partially correct private keys resulting from a clustering-based horizontal attack. By testing the trained network on scalar multiplication (or exponentiation) traces, we demonstrate that a deep neural network can significantly reduce the number of wrong bits from randomized scalars (or exponents).When a simple horizontal attack can recover around 52% of attacked multiple private key bits, the proposed iterative framework improves the private key accuracy to above 90% on average and to 100% for at least one of the attacked keys. Our attack model remains fully unsupervised and excludes the need to know where the error or noisy bits are located in each separate randomized private key.
The Curse of Class Imbalance and Conflicting Metrics with Machine Learning for Side-channel Evaluations 📺
We concentrate on machine learning techniques used for profiled sidechannel analysis in the presence of imbalanced data. Such scenarios are realistic and often occurring, for instance in the Hamming weight or Hamming distance leakage models. In order to deal with the imbalanced data, we use various balancing techniques and we show that most of them help in mounting successful attacks when the data is highly imbalanced. Especially, the results with the SMOTE technique are encouraging, since we observe some scenarios where it reduces the number of necessary measurements more than 8 times. Next, we provide extensive results on comparison of machine learning and side-channel metrics, where we show that machine learning metrics (and especially accuracy as the most often used one) can be extremely deceptive. This finding opens a need to revisit the previous works and their results in order to properly assess the performance of machine learning in side-channel analysis.
Make Some Noise. Unleashing the Power of Convolutional Neural Networks for Profiled Side-channel Analysis 📺
Profiled side-channel analysis based on deep learning, and more precisely Convolutional Neural Networks, is a paradigm showing significant potential. The results, although scarce for now, suggest that such techniques are even able to break cryptographic implementations protected with countermeasures. In this paper, we start by proposing a new Convolutional Neural Network instance able to reach high performance for a number of considered datasets. We compare our neural network with the one designed for a particular dataset with masking countermeasure and we show that both are good designs but also that neither can be considered as a superior to the other one.Next, we address how the addition of artificial noise to the input signal can be actually beneficial to the performance of the neural network. Such noise addition is equivalent to the regularization term in the objective function. By using this technique, we are able to reduce the number of measurements needed to reveal the secret key by orders of magnitude for both neural networks. Our new convolutional neural network instance with added noise is able to break the implementation protected with the random delay countermeasure by using only 3 traces in the attack phase. To further strengthen our experimental results, we investigate the performance with a varying number of training samples, noise levels, and epochs. Our findings show that adding noise is beneficial throughout all training set sizes and epochs.
Lightweight and Side-channel Secure 4 × 4 S-Boxes from Cellular Automata Rules 📺
This work focuses on side-channel resilient design strategies for symmetrickey cryptographic primitives targeting lightweight applications. In light of NIST’s lightweight cryptography project, design choices for block ciphers must consider not only security against traditional cryptanalysis, but also side-channel security, while adhering to low area and power requirements. In this paper, we explore design strategies for substitution-permutation network (SPN)-based block ciphers that make them amenable to low-cost threshold implementations (TI) - a provably secure strategy against side-channel attacks. The core building blocks for our strategy are cryptographically optimal 4×4 S-Boxes, implemented via repeated iterations of simple cellular automata (CA) rules. We present highly optimized TI circuits for such S-Boxes, that consume nearly 40% less area and power as compared to popular lightweight S-Boxes such as PRESENT and GIFT. We validate our claims via implementation results on ASIC using 180nm technology. We also present a comparison of TI circuits for two popular lightweight linear diffusion layer choices - bit permutations and MixColumns using almost-maximum-distance-separable (almost-MDS) matrices. We finally illustrate design paradigms that combine the aforementioned TI circuits for S-Boxes and diffusion layers to obtain fully side-channel secure SPN block cipher implementations with low area and power requirements.
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