Power analysis attack of QCA circuits: a case study of the Serpent cipher

Liu, Weiqiang and Srivastava, Saket and Lu, Liang and O'Neill, Maire and Swartzlander, Earl E. (2013) Power analysis attack of QCA circuits: a case study of the Serpent cipher. In: Circuits and Systems (ISCAS), 2013 IEEE International Symposium on, 19-23 May 2013, Beijing, China.

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/ISCAS.2013.6572282

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Abstract

Quantum-dot cellular automata (QCA) technology is an attractive alternative to CMOS for future digital designs. A powerful attack based on power analysis has become a significant threat to the security of CMOS cryptographic circuits. As there is no current flow in QCA, the power consumption of a QCA circuit is extremely low compared to its CMOS counterpart. Therefore, in this paper an investigation is carried out to ascertain if QCA circuits could be immune to power analysis attacks based on a case study of the Serpent cipher. In comparison to a previous design, the proposed QCA implementation of a sub-module of the Serpent cipher is more efficient in terms of complexity, area and latency. By using an upper bound power model, the first power analysis attack of a QCA cryptographic circuit is presented. Simulation results show that even though the power consumption is low, it can still be correlated with the correct key guess, and all possible subkeys applied to the Serpent sub-module can be revealed in a best case scenario for attackers. The security of practical QCA devices is also discussed and could be greatly improved by applying a smoother clock.

Keywords:Ciphers, Clocks, Integrated circuit modeling, Power demand, Quantum dots, Upper bound, QCA, Power dissipation
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G411 Computer Architectures
F Physical Sciences > F342 Quantum Mechanics
G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G400 Computer Science
F Physical Sciences > F343 Computational Physics
H Engineering > H600 Electronic and Electrical Engineering
H Engineering > H610 Electronic Engineering
Divisions:College of Science > School of Computer Science
College of Science > School of Engineering
ID Code:11594
Deposited On:12 Aug 2013 08:21

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