Achieving Side-Channel Protection with Dynamic Logic Reconfiguration on Modern FPGAs

Pascal Sasdrich, Amir Moradi, Oliver Mischke, Tim Güneysu

IEEE International Symposium on Hardware Oriented Security and Trust, HOST 2015, McLean, VA, USA, May 5-7, 2015


Abstract

Reconfigurability is a unique feature of modern FPGA devices to load hardware circuits just on demand. This also implies that a completely different set of circuits might operate at the exact same location of the FPGA at different time slots, making it difficult for an external observer or attacker to predict what will happen at what time. In this work we present and evaluate a novel hardware implementation of the lightweight cipher PRESENT with built-in side-channel countermeasures based on dynamic logic reconfiguration. In our design we make use of Configurable Look-Up Tables (CFGLUT) integrated in modern Xilinx FPGAs to nearly instantaneously change hardware internals of our cipher implementation for improved resistance against side-channel attacks. We provide evidence from practical experiments based on a Spartan-6 platform that even with 10 million recorded power traces we were unable to detect a first-order leakage using the state-of-the-art leakage assessment.

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