Masking Large Keys in Hardware: A Masked Implementation of McEliece

Cong Chen, Thomas Eisenbarth, Ingo von Maurich, Rainer Steinwandt

22nd Conference on Selected Areas in Cryptography (SAC 2015), Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada, August 12-14, 2015, to ap­pe­ar.


Instantiations of the McEliece cryptosystem which are considered computationally secure even in a post-quantum era still require hardening against side channel attacks for practical applications. Recently, the first differential power analysis attack on a McEliece cryptosystem successfully recovered the full secret key of a state-of-the-art FPGA implementation of QC-MDPC McEliece. In this work we show how to apply masking countermeasures to the scheme and present the first masked FPGA implementation that includes these countermeasures. We validate the side channel resistance of our design by practical DPA attacks and statistical tests for leakage detection.