International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


David Knichel


Let's Take it Offline: Boosting Brute-Force Attacks on iPhone's User Authentication through SCA
In recent years, smartphones have become an increasingly important storage facility for personal sensitive data ranging from photos and credentials up to financial and medical records like credit cards and person’s diseases. Trivially, it is critical to secure this information and only provide access to the genuine and authenticated user. Smartphone vendors have already taken exceptional care to protect user data by the means of various software and hardware security features like code signing, authenticated boot chain, dedicated co-processor and integrated cryptographic engines with hardware fused keys. Despite these obstacles, adversaries have successfully broken through various software protections in the past, leaving only the hardware as the last standing barrier between the attacker and user data. In this work, we build upon existing software vulnerabilities and break through the final barrier by performing the first ever physical Side-Channel Analysis (SCA) attack on an iPhone in order to extract the hardware-fused device-specific User Identifier (UID) key. This key – once at hand – allows the adversary to perform an offline brute-force attack on the user passcode employing an optimized and scalable implementation of the Key Derivation Function (KDF) on a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) cluster. Once the passcode is revealed, the adversary has full access to all user data stored on the device and possibly in the cloud. As the software exploit enables acquisition and processing of hundreds of millions of traces, this work further shows that an attacker being able to query arbitrary many chosen-data encryption/decryption requests is a realistic model, even for compact systems with advanced software protections, and emphasizes the need for assessing resilience against SCA for a very high number of traces.
SILVER - Statistical Independence and Leakage Verification 📺
Implementing cryptographic functions securely in the presence of physical adversaries is still a challenge although a lion's share of research in the physical security domain has been put in development of countermeasures. Among several protection schemes, masking has absorbed the most attention of research in both academic and industrial communities, due to its theoretical foundation allowing to provide proofs or model the achieved security level. In return, masking schemes are difdicult to implement as the implementation process often is manual, complex, and error-prone. This motivated the need for formal verification tools that allow the designers and engineers to analyze and verify the designs before manufacturing. In this work, we present a new framework to analyze and verify masked implementations against various security notions using different security models as reference. In particular, our framework { which directly processes the resulting gate-level netlist of a hardware synthesis { particularly relies on Reduced Ordered Binary Decision Diagrams (ROBDDs) and the concept of statistical independence of probability distributions. Compared to existing tools, our framework captivates due to its simplicity, accuracy, and functionality while still having a reasonable efficiency for many applications and common use-cases.