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Deim Seminar


Emulating Power Attacks with gem5


Carlos Andres Lara Nio

Professor/a organitzador/a

Oriol Farrs Ventura


Laboratoire Hubert Curien


22-02-2024 12:00


Abstract: Power attacks such as power analysis and covert channels have the potential of disrupting the trust of the users on computing platforms and cryptographic algorithms. The main challenge in the design of countermeasures against these threats is that an evaluation of their effectiveness can only be performed after they have been implemented. By that point, significant resources would have been invested in the creation of a prototype. Moreover, the large volume of combinations from all the potential target algorithms and computing systems complicates a systematical analysis. It is necessary to find strategies to simplify and systematize the study of such attacks and their countermeasures. gem5 is an open-source cycle-accurate simulator which offers the possibility to emulate a broad range of computing architectures. Beyond the functional verification, this tool can compute multiple statistics from the simulated system. We propose that these data can provide insights on the operation of an equivalent physical device. In this talk, we detail our approach for using gem5 to simulate power attacks on an ARM system. Our work shows that while there is a correlation between the processor data and the simulation statistics, there are significant challenges that must be addressed to improve the use of gem5 for the emulation of physical phenomena.