Gate-level Leakage Assessment and Mitigation
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Side-channel leakage, caused by imperfect implementation of cryptographic algorithms in hardware, has become a serious security threat for connected devices that generate and process sensitive data. This side-channel leakage can divulge secret information in the form of power consumption or electromagnetic emissions. The side-channel leakage of a crytographic device is commonly assessed after tape-out on a physical prototype. This thesis presents a methodology called Gate-level Leakage Assessment (GLA), which evaluates the power-based side-channel leakage of an integrated circuit at design time. By combining side-channel leakage assessment with power simulations on the gate-level netlist, GLA is able to pinpoint the leakiest cells in the netlist in addition to assessing the overall side-channel vulnerability to side-channel leakage. As the power traces obtained from power simulations are noiseless, GLA is able to precisely locate the sources of side-channel leakage with fewer measurements than on a physical prototype. The thesis applies the methodology on the design of a encryption co-processor to analyze sources of side-channel leakage. Once the gate-level leakage sources are identified, this thesis presents a logic level replacement strategy for the leakage sources that can thwart side-channel leakage. The countermeasures presented selectively replaces gate-level cells with a secure logic style effectively removing the side-channel leakage with minimal impact in area. The assessment methodology along with the countermeasures demonstrated is a turnkey solution for IP module designers and is also applicable to larger system level designs.
- Masters Theses