Evaluation of Random Delay Insertion against DPA on FPGAs

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Side-channel attacks (SCA) threaten electronic cryptographic devices and can be carried out by monitoring the physical characteristics of security circuits. Differential Power Analysis (DPA) is one the most widely studied side-channel attacks. Numerous countermeasure techniques, such as Random Delay Insertion (RDI), have been proposed to reduce the risk of DPA attacks against cryptographic devices. The RDI technique was first proposed for microprocessors but it was shown to be unsuccessful when implemented on smartcards as it was vulnerable to a variant of the DPA attack known as the Sliding-Window DPA attack.Previous research by the authors investigated the use of the RDI countermeasure for Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) based cryptographic devices. A split-RDI technique wasproposed to improve the security of the RDI countermeasure. A set of critical parameters wasalso proposed that could be utilized in the design stage to optimize a security algorithm designwith RDI in terms of area, speed and power. The authors also showed that RDI is an efficientcountermeasure technique on FPGA in comparison to other countermeasures.In this article, a new RDI logic design is proposed that can be used to cost-efficiently implementRDI on FPGA devices. Sliding-Window DPA and realignment attacks, which were shown to beeffective against RDI implemented on smartcard devices, are performed on the improved RDIFPGA implementation. We demonstrate that these attacks are unsuccessful and we also proposea realignment technique that can be used to demonstrate the weakness of RDI implementations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Number of pages20
JournalACM Transactions on Reconfigurable Technology and Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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