Second USENIX Workshop on Electronic Commerce
Tamper Resistance - a Cautionary Note
Ross Anderson, Cambridge University
Markus Kuhn, Purdue University
An increasing number of systems, from pay-TV to electronic purses,
rely on the tamper resistance of smartcards and other security
processors. We describe a number of attacks on such systems - some
old, some new and some that are simply little known outside the chip
testing community. We conclude that trusting tamper resistance is
problematic; smartcards are broken routinely, and even a device that
was described by a government signals agency as `the most secure
processor generally available' turns out to be vulnerable. Designers
of secure systems should consider the consequences with care.
This paper will be published by the USENIX Association in
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop On Electronic Commerce,
Oakland, California, November 18-20, 1996.
View the full text of this paper in
POSTSCRIPT (475,922 Bytes) form.
To Become a USENIX Member, please see our