A VLSI Design Flow for Secure Side-Channel Attack Resistant ICs

Kris Tiri, Ingrid Verbauwhede

This paper presents a digital VLSI design flow to create secure, side-channel attack (SCA) resistant integrated circuits. The design flow starts from a normal design in a hardware description language such as VHDL or Verilog and provides a direct path to a SCA resistant layout. Instead of a full custom layout or an iterative design process with extensive simulations, a few key modifications are incorporated in a regular synchronous CMOS standard cell design flow. We discuss the basis for side-channel attack resistance and adjust the library databases and constraints files of the synthesis and place & route procedures accordingly. Experimental results show that a DPA attack on a regular single ended CMOS standard cell implementation of a module of the DES algorithm discloses the secret key after 200 measurements. The same attack on a secure version still does not disclose the secret key after more than 2000 measurements.

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