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DRASTIC: Dynamically Reconfigurable Architectures for Side-channel analysis protecTIon of Cryptographic implementations

Project partners

KU Leuven - Nele Mentens
CTU in Prague - Martin Novotný


The Internet of Things (IoT) is increasingly becoming part of our everyday life. Therefore, electronic IoT devices need to be carefully designed, taking into account data security and privacy. Putting in place security and privacy measures should introduce a minimal overhead in the system's power/energy consumption, cost and operational delay. Additionally, since IoT devices are everywhere, attackers can be in the vicinity of the device, which stresses the need for protection against side-channel analysis (SCA) attacks. These attacks exploit the use of side-channels, which are information channels that are unintentionally present in electronic devices and which potentially leak secret information. Examples are the power consumption, the electromagnetic radiation and the timing behaviour of the electronic device. In both academia and industry, SCA countermeasures are being developed and deployed. However, as SCA attacks become more and more sophisticated, continuously evolving countermeasures are necessary to protect the electronic devices of the future.

This project proposes the use of dynamic hardware reconfiguration as a countermeasure against one of the most exploited types of SCA attacks, namely power analysis attacks. The goal is to randomly change the hardware circuit without altering the input-output behaviour of the chip. Since power analysis attacks are strongly based on the knowledge of the circuit, this is a very promising countermeasure. Another advantage is that dynamic hardware reconfiguration can be used as an add-on to other countermeasures. The project focuses on dynamic hardware reconfiguration on FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays). It will result in proof-of-concept implementations that will be evaluated for power analysis attack resistance. The experimental results are crucial for the definition of a European project proposal that develops an automated tool flow and industry-driven use cases to show the effectiveness of the approach.


Internet of Things, cryptography, embedded security, FPGA, side-channel analysis, dynamic hardware reconfiguration

Project period

01.10.2017 - 30.09.2019

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