International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Alexandre Venelli


Efficiency through Diversity in Ensemble Models applied to Side-Channel Attacks: – A Case Study on Public-Key Algorithms – 📺
Deep Learning based Side-Channel Attacks (DL-SCA) are considered as fundamental threats against secure cryptographic implementations. Side-channel attacks aim to recover a secret key using the least number of leakage traces. In DL-SCA, this often translates in having a model with the highest possible accuracy. Increasing an attack’s accuracy is particularly important when an attacker targets public-key cryptographic implementations where the recovery of each secret key bits is directly related to the model’s accuracy. Commonly used in the deep learning field, ensemble models are a well suited method that combine the predictions of multiple models to increase the ensemble accuracy by reducing the correlation between their errors. Linked to this correlation, the diversity is considered as an indicator of the ensemble model performance. In this paper, we propose a new loss, namely Ensembling Loss (EL), that generates an ensemble model which increases the diversity between the members. Based on the mutual information between the ensemble model and its related label, we theoretically demonstrate how the ensemble members interact during the training process. We also study how an attack’s accuracy gain translates to a drastic reduction of the remaining time complexity of a side-channel attacks through multiple scenarios on public-key implementations. Finally, we experimentally evaluate the benefits of our new learning metric on RSA and ECC secure implementations. The Ensembling Loss increases by up to 6.8% the performance of the ensemble model while the remaining brute-force is reduced by up to 222 operations depending on the attack scenario.
Ranking Loss: Maximizing the Success Rate in Deep Learning Side-Channel Analysis 📺
The side-channel community recently investigated a new approach, based on deep learning, to significantly improve profiled attacks against embedded systems. Compared to template attacks, deep learning techniques can deal with protected implementations, such as masking or desynchronization, without substantial preprocessing. However, important issues are still open. One challenging problem is to adapt the methods classically used in the machine learning field (e.g. loss function, performance metrics) to the specific side-channel context in order to obtain optimal results. We propose a new loss function derived from the learning to rank approach that helps preventing approximation and estimation errors, induced by the classical cross-entropy loss. We theoretically demonstrate that this new function, called Ranking Loss (RkL), maximizes the success rate by minimizing the ranking error of the secret key in comparison with all other hypotheses. The resulting model converges towards the optimal distinguisher when considering the mutual information between the secret and the leakage. Consequently, the approximation error is prevented. Furthermore, the estimation error, induced by the cross-entropy, is reduced by up to 23%. When the ranking loss is used, the convergence towards the best solution is up to 23% faster than a model using the cross-entropy loss function. We validate our theoretical propositions on public datasets.
Deep Learning to Evaluate Secure RSA Implementations 📺
This paper presents the results of several successful profiled side-channel attacks against a secure implementation of the RSA algorithm. The implementation was running on a ARM Core SC 100 completed with a certified EAL4+ arithmetic co-processor. The analyses have been conducted by three experts’ teams, each working on a specific attack path and exploiting information extracted either from the electromagnetic emanation or from the power consumption. A particular attention is paid to the description of all the steps that are usually followed during a security evaluation by a laboratory, including the acquisitions and the observations preprocessing which are practical issues usually put aside in the literature. Remarkably, the profiling portability issue is also taken into account and different device samples are involved for the profiling and testing phases. Among other aspects, this paper shows the high potential of deep learning attacks against secure implementations of RSA and raises the need for dedicated countermeasures.
Methodology for Efficient CNN Architectures in Profiling Attacks 📺
The side-channel community recently investigated a new approach, based on deep learning, to significantly improve profiled attacks against embedded systems. Previous works have shown the benefit of using convolutional neural networks (CNN) to limit the effect of some countermeasures such as desynchronization. Compared with template attacks, deep learning techniques can deal with trace misalignment and the high dimensionality of the data. Pre-processing is no longer mandatory. However, the performance of attacks depends to a great extent on the choice of each hyperparameter used to configure a CNN architecture. Hence, we cannot perfectly harness the potential of deep neural networks without a clear understanding of the network’s inner-workings. To reduce this gap, we propose to clearly explain the role of each hyperparameters during the feature selection phase using some specific visualization techniques including Weight Visualization, Gradient Visualization and Heatmaps. By highlighting which features are retained by filters, heatmaps come in handy when a security evaluator tries to interpret and understand the efficiency of CNN. We propose a methodology for building efficient CNN architectures in terms of attack efficiency and network complexity, even in the presence of desynchronization. We evaluate our methodology using public datasets with and without desynchronization. In each case, our methodology outperforms the previous state-of-the-art CNN models while significantly reducing network complexity. Our networks are up to 25 times more efficient than previous state-of-the-art while their complexity is up to 31810 times smaller. Our results show that CNN networks do not need to be very complex to perform well in the side-channel context.