[Resource Topic] 2016/810: Fault Injection using Crowbars on Embedded Systems

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Fault Injection using Crowbars on Embedded Systems

Authors: Colin O'Flynn


Causing a device to incorrectly execute an instruction or store faulty data is well-known strategy for attacking cryptographic implementations on embedded systems. One technique to generate such faults is to manipulate the supply voltage of the device. This paper introduces a novel technique to introduce those supply voltage manipulations onto existing digital systems, requiring minimal modifications to the device being attacked. This uses a crowbar to short the power supply for controlled periods of time. High-accuracy faults are demonstrated on the 8-bit AVR microcontroller, which can generate both single and multi-bit faults with high repeatability. Additionally this technique is demonstrated on a FPGA where it is capable of generating faults in both internal registers and the configuration fabric.

ePrint: https://eprint.iacr.org/2016/810

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