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How to perform electromagnetic side-channel analysis by simulation | Thomas Ordas | Philippe Maurine | Davide Poggi | Alexandre Sarafianos | Webinars 2021
For many years EM Side-Channel Attacks (SCA), which exploit the statistical link between the magnetic field radiated by secure ICs and the data they process, are a critical threat. Indeed, attackers need to find only one leaky position over the IC to compromise the security of the IC and its data. As a result, designing secure ICs robust enough to resist these attacks is incredibly difficult because designers must ensure there is no exploitable hotspots over the whole IC surface. This task is all the more difficult as there is no techniques in literature for verifying, during the design stage, the robustness of ICs against EM SCA.

In fact, the available power analysis tools cannot assure that a design is free of any EM leakage, as they do not take into consideration neither the physical implementation of the chip nor the power rail distribution. In this context, the first contribution of our researches is a simulation flow able to reproduce the magnetic field radiated by ICs. This flow is based on a commercial IR drop tool (RedHawk from ANSYS).

The second and main contribution, is a new technique, called Noise-to-Add, allowing to correctly interpret simulated correlation power analysis (CPA) maps. Indeed, simulations are noise-free and performing CPAs by simulation is no help to identify EM leakages prior to fabrication. The third contribution is a simple technique to identify the root causes of EM leakages in ICs. These origins, which are denoted as leakage hotpots, are different from EM hotspots which are defined as the coordinates at which EM probes must be placed to effectively capture leakages
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