Lecture Notes in Computer Science vol:2779 pages:35-50
CHES 2003 date:October 08-10, 2003
Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are becoming increasingly popular, especially for rapid prototyping. For implementations of cryptographic algorithms, not only the speed and the size of the circuit are important, but also their security against implementation attacks such as side-channel attacks. Power-analysis attacks are typical examples of side-channel attacks, that have been demonstrated to be effective against implementations without special countermeasures. The flexibility of FPGAs is an important advantage in real applications but also in lab environments. It is therefore natural to use FPGAs to assess the vulnerability of hardware implementations to power-analysis attacks. To our knowledge, this paper is the first to describe a setup to conduct power-analysis attacks on FPGAs. We discuss the design of our hand-made FPGA-board and we provide a first characterization of the power consumption of a Virtex 800 FPGA. Finally we provide strong evidence that implementations of elliptic curve cryptosystems without specific countermeasures are indeed vulnerable to simple power-analysis attacks.