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
Exploring Feature Selection Scenarios for Deep Learning-based Side-channel Analysis
One of the main promoted advantages of deep learning in profiling sidechannel analysis is the possibility of skipping the feature engineering process. Despite that, most recent publications consider feature selection as the attacked interval from the side-channel measurements is pre-selected. This is similar to the worst-case security assumptions in security evaluations when the random secret shares (e.g., mask shares) are known during the profiling phase: an evaluator can identify points ofinterest locations and efficiently trim the trace interval. To broadly understand how feature selection impacts the performance of deep learning-based profiling attacks, this paper investigates three different feature selection scenarios that could be realistically used in practical security evaluations. The scenarios range from the minimum possible number of features (worst-case security assumptions) to the whole available traces. Our results emphasize that deep neural networks as profiling models show successful key recovery independently of explored feature selection scenarios against first-order masked software implementations of AES-128. First, we show that feature selection with the worst-case security assumptions results in optimal profiling models that are highly dependent on the number of features and signal-to-noise ratio levels. Second, we demonstrate that attacking raw side-channel measurements with small deep neural networks also provides optimal models, that shortens the gap between worst-case security evaluations and online (realistic) profiling attacks. In all explored feature selection scenarios, the hyperparameter search always indicates a successful model with up to eight hidden layers for MLPs and CNNs, suggesting that complex models are not required for the considered datasets. Our results demonstrate the key recovery with less than ten attack traces for all datasets for at least one of the feature selection scenarios. Additionally, in several cases, we can recover the target key with a single attack trace.
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
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.