International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Domenic Forte


Information Theory-based Evolution of Neural Networks for Side-channel Analysis
Profiled side-channel analysis (SCA) leverages leakage from cryptographic implementations to extract the secret key. When combined with advanced methods in neural networks (NNs), profiled SCA can successfully attack even those cryptocores assumed to be protected against SCA. Despite the rise in the number of studies devoted to NN-based SCA, a range of questions has remained unanswered, namely: how to choose an NN with an adequate configuration, how to tune the NN’s hyperparameters, when to stop the training, etc. Our proposed approach, “InfoNEAT,” tackles these issues in a natural way. InfoNEAT relies on the concept of neural structure search, enhanced by information-theoretic metrics to guide the evolution, halt it with novel stopping criteria, and improve time-complexity and memory footprint. The performance of InfoNEAT is evaluated by applying it to publicly available datasets composed of real side-channel measurements. In addition to the considerable advantages regarding the automated configuration of NNs, InfoNEAT demonstrates significant improvements over other approaches for effective key recovery in terms of the number of epochs (e.g.,x6 faster) and the number of attack traces compared to both MLPs and CNNs (e.g., up to 1000s fewer traces to break a device) as well as a reduction in the number of trainable parameters compared to MLPs (e.g., by the factor of up to 32). Furthermore, through experiments, it is demonstrated that InfoNEAT’s models are robust against noise and desynchronization in traces.
Covert Gates: Protecting Integrated Circuits with Undetectable Camouflaging 📺
Integrated circuit (IC) camouflaging has emerged as a promising solution for protecting semiconductor intellectual property (IP) against reverse engineering. Existing methods of camouflaging are based on standard cells that can assume one of many Boolean functions, either through variation of transistor threshold voltage or contact configurations. Unfortunately, such methods lead to high area, delay and power overheads, and are vulnerable to invasive as well as non-invasive attacks based on Boolean satisfiability/VLSI testing. In this paper, we propose, fabricate, and demonstrate a new cell camouflaging strategy, termed as ‘covert gate’ that leverages doping and dummy contacts to create camouflaged cells that are indistinguishable from regular standard cells under modern imaging techniques. We perform a comprehensive security analysis of covert gate, and show that it achieves high resiliency against SAT and test-based attacks at very low overheads. We also derive models to characterize the covert cells, and develop measures to incorporate them into a gate-level design. Simulation results of overheads and attacks are presented on benchmark circuits.
CAS-Lock: A Security-Corruptibility Trade-off Resilient Logic Locking Scheme 📺
Logic locking has recently been proposed as a solution for protecting gatelevel semiconductor intellectual property (IP). However, numerous attacks have been mounted on this technique, which either compromise the locking key or restore the original circuit functionality. SAT attacks leverage golden IC information to rule out all incorrect key classes, while bypass and removal attacks exploit the limited output corruptibility and/or structural traces of SAT-resistant locking schemes. In this paper, we propose a new lightweight locking technique: CAS-Lock (cascaded locking) which nullifies both SAT and bypass attacks, while simultaneously maintaining nontrivial output corruptibility. This property of CAS-Lock is in stark contrast to the well-accepted notion that there is an inherent trade-off between output corruptibility and SAT resistance. We theoretically and experimentally validate the SAT resistance of CAS-Lock, and show that it reduces the attack to brute-force, regardless of its construction. Further, we evaluate its resistance to recently proposed approximate SAT attacks (i.e., AppSAT). We also propose a modified version of CAS-Lock (mirrored CAS-Lock or M-CAS) to protect against removal attacks. M-CAS allows a trade-off evaluation between removal attack and SAT attack resiliency, while incurring minimal area overhead. We also show how M-CAS parameters such as the implemented Boolean function and selected key can be tuned by the designer so that a desired level of protection against all known attacks can be achieved.
Novel Bypass Attack and BDD-based Tradeoff Analysis Against All Known Logic Locking Attacks
Logic locking has emerged as a promising technique for protecting gate-level semiconductor intellectual property. However, recent work has shown that such gate-level locking techniques are vulnerable to Boolean satisfiability (SAT) attacks. In order to thwart such attacks, several SAT-resistant logic locking techniques have been proposed, which minimize the discriminating ability of input patterns to rule out incorrect keys. In this work, we show that such SAT-resistant logic locking techniques have their own set of unique vulnerabilities. In particular, we propose a novel “bypass attack” that ensures the locked circuit works even when an incorrect key is applied. Such a technique makes it possible for an adversary to be oblivious to the type of SAT-resistant protection applied on the circuit, and still be able to restore the circuit to its correct functionality. We show that such a bypass attack is feasible on a wide range of benchmarks and SAT-resistant techniques, while incurring minimal run-time and area/delay overhead. Binary decision diagrams (BDDs) are utilized to analyze the proposed bypass attack and assess tradeoffs in security vs overhead of various countermeasures.