On the Security of Balanced Encoding Countermeasures

Yoo-Seung Won, Philip Hodgers, Maire O'Neill, Dong-Guk Han

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Most cryptographic devices should inevitably have a resistance against the threat of side channel attacks. For this, masking and hiding schemes have been proposed since 1999. The security validation of these countermeasures is an ongoing research topic, as a wider range of new and existing attack techniques are tested against these countermeasures. This paper examines the side channel security of the balanced encoding countermeasure, whose aim is to process the secret key-related data under a constant Hamming weight and/or Hamming distance leakage. Unlike previous works, we assume that the leakage model coefficients conform to a normal distribution, producing a model with closer fidelity to real-world implementations. We perform analysis on the balanced encoded PRINCE block cipher with simulated leakage model and also an implementation on an AVR board. We consider both standard correlation power analysis (CPA) and bit-wise CPA. We confirm the resistance of the countermeasure against standard CPA, however, we find with a bit-wise CPA that we can reveal the key with only a few thousands traces.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProcceedings of 14th Smart Card Research and Advanced Application Conference CARDIS 2015)
Number of pages15
Publication statusAccepted - 2015
Event14th Smart Card Research and Advanced Application Conference - Bochum, Germany
Duration: 04 Nov 201506 Nov 2015


Conference14th Smart Card Research and Advanced Application Conference


  • Balanced Encoding
  • bit-wise CPA
  • PRINCE block cipher


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