[Cryptography] '“Ooh Aah... Just a Little Bit” : A small amount of side channel can go a long way '

Jerry Leichter leichter at lrw.com
Sat Mar 15 06:33:58 EDT 2014

Naomi Benger, Joop van de Pol, Nigel P. Smart, and Yuval Yarom

Abstract. We apply the FLUSH+RELOAD side channel attack based on cache hits/misses to extract a small amount of data from OpenSSL ECDSA signature requests. We then apply a “standard” lattice technique to extract the private key, but unlike previous attacks we are able to make use of the side-channel information from almost all of the observed executions. This means we obtain private key recovery by observing a relatively small number of executions, and by expending a relatively small amount of post-processing via lattice reduction. We demonstrate our analysis via experiments using the curve secp256k1 used in the Bitcoin protocol. In particular we show that with as little as 200 signatures we are able to achieve a reasonable level of success in recovering the secret key for a 256-bit curve. This is significantly better than prior methods of applying lattice reduction techqniques to similar side channel information.


                                                        -- Jerry

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