Shaping the Glitch: Optimizing Voltage Fault Injection Attacks

  • Claudio Bozzato Cisco Talos
  • Riccardo Focardi Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Cryptosense
  • Francesco Palmarini Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Yarix
Keywords: Embedded system security, Fault attacks, Firmware extraction, Microcontrollers

Abstract

Voltage fault injection is a powerful active side channel attack that modifies the execution-flow of a device by creating disturbances on the power supply line. The attack typically aims at skipping security checks or generating side-channels that gradually leak sensitive data, including the firmware code. In this paper we propose a new voltage fault injection technique that generates fully arbitrary voltage glitch waveforms using off-the-shelf and low cost equipment. To show the effectiveness of our setup, we present new, unpublished firmware extraction attacks on six microcontrollers from three major manufacturers: STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Renesas Electronics that, in 2016 declared a market of $1.5 billion, $800 million and $2.5 billion on units sold, respectively. Among the presented attacks, the most challenging ones exploit multiple vulnerabilities and inject over one million glitches, heavily leveraging on the performance and repeatability of the new proposed technique. We perform a thorough evaluation of arbitrary glitch waveforms by comparing the attack performance against two other major V-FI techniques in the literature. Along a responsible disclosure policy, all the vulnerabilities have been timely reported to the manufacturers.

Published
2019-02-28
How to Cite
Bozzato, C., Focardi, R., & Palmarini, F. (2019). Shaping the Glitch: Optimizing Voltage Fault Injection Attacks. IACR Transactions on Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems, 2019(2), 199-224. https://doi.org/10.13154/tches.v2019.i2.199-224
Section
Articles