Faculty Advisor

Thomas Eisenbarth

Faculty Advisor

Berk Sunar

Faculty Advisor

Mostafa Taha

Faculty Advisor

Yehia Massoud


"Securing data transmission has always been a challenge. While many cryptographic algorithms are available to solve the problem, many applications have tough area constraints while requiring high-level security. Lightweight cryptography aims at achieving high-level security with the benefit of being low cost. Since the late nineties and with the discovery of side channel attacks the approach towards cryptography has changed quite significantly. An attacker who can get close to a device can extract sensitive data by monitoring side channels such as power consumption, sound, or electromagnetic emanation. This means that embedded implementations of cryptographic schemes require protection against such attacks to achieve the desired level of security. In this work we combine a low-cost embedded cipher, Simon, with a stateof-the-art side channel countermeasure called Threshold Implementation (TI). We show that TI is a great match for lightweight cryptographic ciphers, especially for hardware implementation. Our implementation is the smallest TI of a block-cipher on an FPGA. This implementation utilizes 96 slices of a low-cost Spartan-3 FPGA and 55 slices a modern Kintex-7 FPGA. Moreover, we present a higher order TI which is resistant against second order attacks. This implementation utilizes 163 slices of a Spartan-3 FPGA and 95 slices of a Kintex-7 FPGA. We also present a state of the art leakage analysis and, by applying it to the designs, show that the implementations achieve the expected security. The implementations even feature a significant robustness to higher order attacks, where several million observations are needed to detect leakage."


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Electrical & Computer Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





cryptography, side-channel attacks, lightweight cryptography, SIMON, threshold implementation