Exploratory Paper On By-Passing Cryptography Through Side-Channel Attacks

Excerpt from my paper

Cryptography is an age old form of disguising and protecting communication which was used by individuals, armies and organizational communiques. In the early days of mankind’s history, cryptography was fairly simple according today’s standards, but skyrocketed forward with the electronic evolution which enabled new ideas and solutions. One early example of cryptography was Julius Caesar’s usage of a simple algorithm to encrypt messages for his field generals to reduce the potential of voluntary or involuntary information leaks by messengers [Uni14]. In effect, Julius Caesar was attempting to reduce side-channel attacks again his messages by removing the messengers from the main communication channel.

A side-channel attack is defined as any attack based on information gained from the implementation of a cryptosystem, rather than brute force or theoretical weaknesses in the algorithms through cryptanalysis. Often attacks are limited to physical implementations, but recent critical vulnerabilities exploit flaws such as Heart Bleed [CVE14] suggest a focus on the implementation of algorithms and protocols in order to reduce the difficulty of breaking secured communications.

This paper will explore possible avenues of bypassing cryptosystem security through side-channel attacks through invasive and non-invasive vectors.