Evaluating Resistance of MCML Technology to Power Analysis Attacks Using a Simulation-Based Methodology

Francesco Regazzoni, Thomas Eisenbarth, Dipl.-Kfm. Axel Poschmann, Johann Großschädl, Frank Gurkaynak, Marco Macchetti, Zeynep Toprak, Laura Pozzi, Chris­tof Paar, Yusuf Leblebici, Paolo Ienne

Transactions on Computational Science IV, 2009.


This paper explores the resistance of MOS Current Mode Logic (MCML) against attacks based on the observation of the power consumption. Circuits implemented in MCML, in fact, have unique characteristics both in terms of power consumption and the dependency of the power profile from the input signal pattern. Therefore, MCML is suitable to protect cryptographic hardware from Differential Power Analysis and similar side-channel attacks. In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of different logic styles against power analysis attacks, two full cores implementing the AES algorithm were realized and implemented with CMOS and MCML technology, and a set of different types of attack was performed using power traces derived from SPICE-level simulations. Although all keys were discovered for CMOS, MCML traces did not presents characteristic that can lead to a successful attack.

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