International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Giacomo de Meulenaer


Improving the Rules of the DPA Contest
A DPA contest has been launched at CHES 2008. The goal of this initiative is to make it possible for researchers to compare different side-channel attacks in an objective manner. For this purpose, a set of 80000 traces corresponding to the encryption of 80000 different plaintexts with the Data Encryption Standard and a fixed key has been made available. In this short note, we discuss the rules that the contest uses to rate the effectiveness of different distinguishers. We first describe practical examples of attacks in which these rules can be misleading. Then, we suggest an improved set of rules that can be implemented easily in order to obtain a better interpretation of the comparisons performed.