Certified Side Channels


Cesar Pereida García, Sohaib ul Hassan, Nicola Tuveri, and Iaroslav Gridin, Tampere University; Alejandro Cabrera Aldaya, Tampere University and Universidad Tecnológica de la Habana; Billy Bob Brumley, Tampere University


We demonstrate that the format in which private keys are persisted impacts Side Channel Analysis (SCA) security. Surveying several widely deployed software libraries, we investigate the formats they support, how they parse these keys, and what runtime decisions they make. We uncover a combination of weaknesses and vulnerabilities, in extreme cases inducing completely disjoint multi-precision arithmetic stacks deep within the cryptosystem level for keys that otherwise seem logically equivalent. Exploiting these vulnerabilities, we design and implement key recovery attacks utilizing signals ranging from electromagnetic (EM) emanations, to granular microarchitecture cache timings, to coarse traditional wall clock timings.

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@inproceedings {255234,
author = {Cesar Pereida Garc{\'\i}a and Sohaib ul Hassan and Nicola Tuveri and Iaroslav Gridin and Alejandro Cabrera Aldaya and Billy Bob Brumley},
title = {Certified Side Channels},
booktitle = {29th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 20)},
year = {2020},
isbn = {978-1-939133-17-5},
pages = {2021--2038},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity20/presentation/garcia},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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