A 286 F2/Cell Distributed Bulk-Current Sensor and Secure Flush Code Eraser Against Laser Fault Injection Attack on Cryptographic Processor

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Laser fault injection (LFI) attack on cryptographic processors is a serious threat to information security. This paper proposes a sense-and-react countermeasure against LFI. A distributed bulk-current sensor monitors the abnormal current conduction caused by laser irradiation to a silicon substrate. The single sensor occupies only 286 F-2/Cell and it is distributed across the entire cryptographic core for 100% attack detection coverage. Upon detection of LFI attack, a flush code eraser prevents a leakage of faulty ciphertext by immediately shunting the core supply path within nano-second order. In addition, the core supply during the shunting is electrically isolated from the global supply line to prevent side-channel information leakage of intermediate faulty codes. A test chip was designed and fabricated in 0.18-mu m standard CMOS, integrating a 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) cryptographic processor with the proposed countermeasures. A protected AES processor can disable LFI attack with only +28% layout area penalty compared to an unprotected core.


  • IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits

    IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits 53(11), 3174-3182, 2018-11

    Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)


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