A First Step Towards Automatic Application of Power Analysis Countermeasures
In cryptography, side channel attacks, such as power analysis, attempt to uncover secret information from the physical implementation of cryptosystems rather than exploiting weaknesses in the cryptographic algorithms themselves. The design and implementation of physically secure cryptosystems is a challenge for both hardware and software designers. Measuring and evaluating the security of a system is manual and empirical, which is costly and time consuming; this work demonstrates that it is possible to automate these processes. We introduce a systematic methodology for automatic application of software countermeasures and demonstrate its effectiveness on an AES software implementation running on an 8-bit AVR microcontroller. The framework identifies the most vulnerable instructions of the implementation to power analysis attacks, and then transforms the software using a chosen countermeasure to protect the vulnerable instructions. Lastly, it evaluates the security of the system using an information-theoretic metric and a direct attack.