I am really not much of a crypto guy so I don't really get how a differential power analysis on AES works.

Can somebody explain it to me how it basically works?

  • $\begingroup$ Link requests are off topic, so I've edited that part of your question out. $\endgroup$
    – otus
    Jul 7 '15 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ Little old question but here is a good refresher. Thanks to Nathaniel Graff. youtube.com/… $\endgroup$ Jun 26 '17 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ In case that video is ever modified or removed, could you summarize the content here? $\endgroup$
    – user47922
    Jun 26 '17 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ Sure. Noted on my todo list.... $\endgroup$ Jun 26 '17 at 17:39

I'm not an expert yet, but this is how I remember it.

DPA or differential power analysis is a side-channel attack on hardware implementations of cryptographic algorithm.

All electronic circuits consume different amount of power depending on the activity of individual transistors. For example, more transistors may switch when adding the hexadecimal bytes A7 to B9 than when adding 01 to 00.

When attacker connects something like AES protected memory card to a machine that allows him to gather very precise information about it's power usage he can, after having enough measurements, statistically guess some things that he was not supposed to know and brake chosen-plaintext attack security. That way (given enough time) attacker will guess the key faster then using exhaustive search (brute force algorithm)

  • $\begingroup$ As far as I know, DPA attacks can also be performed on software implementations on a general purpose CPU. You still need hardware of course to perform a DPA attack, but I would not call that a hardware implementation as none of the hardware has to be specifically assigned to perform AES operations. $\endgroup$
    – Maarten Bodewes
    Jul 7 '15 at 21:56

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