Are QCA cryptographic circuits resistant to power analysis attack?

Liu, Weiqiang, Srivastava, Saket, Lu, Liang , O'Neill, M. and Swartzlander, E. E. (2012) Are QCA cryptographic circuits resistant to power analysis attack? Nanotechnology, IEEE Transactions on, 11 (6). pp. 1239-1251. ISSN 1536-125X

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Quantum-dot cellular automata (QCA) technology is expected to offer fast computation performance, high density, and low power consumption. Thus, researchers believe that QCA may be an attractive alternative to CMOS for future digital designs. Side channel attacks, such as power analysis attacks, have become a significant threat to the security of CMOS cryptographic circuits. A power analysis attack can reveal the secret key from measurements of the power consumption during the encryption and decryption process. As there is no electric current flow in QCA technology, the power consumption of QCA circuits is extremely low when compared to their CMOS counterparts. Therefore, in this paper an investigation into both the best and worst case scenarios for attackers is carried out to ascertain if QCA circuits are immune to power analysis attack. A QCA design of a submodule of the Serpent cipher is proposed. In comparison to a previous design, the proposed design 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. The 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 submodule can be revealed in the best case scenario. Therefore, in theory QCA cryptographic circuits would be vulnerable to power analysis attack. However, the security of practical QCA devices can be greatly improved by applying a smoother clock. Moreover, in the worst case scenario, the design of logically reversible QCA circuits with Bennett clocking could be used as a natural countermeasure to power analysis attack. Therefore, it is believed that QCA could be a niche technology in the future for the implementation of security architectures resistant to power analysis attack.

Keywords:cellular automata, cryptography, logic circuits, logic gates, quantum dots, CMOS cryptographic circuit security, QCA cryptographic circuits, Serpent cipher, Serpent submodule, decryption process, digital designs, encryption process, logic circuit, logically reversible QCA circuit design, low power consumption, power analysis attack, quantum-dot cellular automata technology, side channel attacks, upper bound power model, Clocks, Integrated circuit modeling, Power demand, Power dissipation, Upper bound, S-box, quantum-dot cellular automata (QCA) power model
Subjects:H Engineering > H611 Microelectronic Engineering
G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G411 Computer Architectures
G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G400 Computer Science
H Engineering > H610 Electronic Engineering
H Engineering > H612 Integrated Circuit Design
Divisions:College of Science > School of Computer Science
College of Science > School of Engineering
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ID Code:10737
Deposited On:16 Jul 2013 07:56

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