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Evaluation of Low-Cost Thermal Laser Stimulation for Data Extraction and Key Readout

Krachenfels, Thilo and Lohrke, Heiko and Seifert, Jean-Pierre and Dietz, Enrico and Frohmann, Sven and Hübers, Heinz-Wilhelm (2019) Evaluation of Low-Cost Thermal Laser Stimulation for Data Extraction and Key Readout. Journal of Hardware and Systems Security. Springer. DOI: 10.1007/s41635-019-00083-9 ISSN 2509-3428

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s41635-019-00083-9


Recent attacks using thermal laser stimulation (TLS) have shown that it is possible to extract cryptographic keys from the battery-backed memory on state-of-the-art field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). However, the professional failure analysis microscopes usually employed for these attacks cost in the order of 500k to 1M dollars. In this work, we evaluate the use of a cheaper commercial laser fault injection station retrofitted with a suitable amplifier and light source to enable TLS. We demonstrate that TLS attacks are possible at a hardware cost of around 100k dollars. This constitutes a reduction of the resources required by the attacker by a factor of at least five. We showcase two actual attacks: data extraction from the SRAM memory of a low-power microcontroller and decryption key extraction from a 20-nm technology FPGA device. The strengths and weaknesses of our low-cost approach are then discussed in comparison with the conventional failure analysis equipment approach. In general, this work demonstrates that TLS backside attacks are available at a much lower cost than previously expected.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/133333/
Document Type:Article
Title:Evaluation of Low-Cost Thermal Laser Stimulation for Data Extraction and Key Readout
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Krachenfels, Thilotkrachenfels (at) sect.tu-berlin.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-8569-2020
Lohrke, Heikolohrke (at) sect.tu-berlin.deUNSPECIFIED
Seifert, Jean-Pierrejpseifert (at) sect.tu-berlin.deUNSPECIFIED
Dietz, EnricoEnrico.Dietz (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Frohmann, SvenSven.Frohmann (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Hübers, Heinz-WilhelmHeinz-Wilhelm.Huebers (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-8387-4560
Date:20 November 2019
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Hardware and Systems Security
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
DOI :10.1007/s41635-019-00083-9
Keywords:IC security, Optical attacks, Thermal laser stimulation, FPGA security, side channel analysis
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Technology
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R SY - Technik für Raumfahrtsysteme
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben OptoRob, R - Vorhaben Optische Technologien und Anwendungen
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Optical Sensor Systems > Terahertz and Laser Spectroscopy
Deposited By: Frohmann, Sven
Deposited On:10 Jan 2020 08:52
Last Modified:15 Jan 2020 12:09

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