Side-channel cryptographic attacks using pseudo-boolean optimization

Yossef Oren, Avishai Wool

Constraints 21 (4), 616-645, 2016

Symmetric block ciphers, such as the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), are deterministic algorithms which transform plaintexts to ciphertexts using a secret key. These ciphers are designed such that it is computationally very difficult to recover the secret key if only pairs of plaintexts and ciphertexts are provided to the attacker. Constraint solvers have recently been suggested as a way of recovering the secret keys of symmetric block ciphers. To carry out such an attack, the attacker provides the solver with a set of equations describing the mathematical relationship between a known plaintext and a known ciphertext, and then attempts to solve for the unknown secret key. This approach is known to be intractable against AES unless side-channel data – information leaked from the cryptographic device due to its internal physical structure – is introduced into the equation set. A significant challenge in writing …