Power Analysis Attacks on ECC: A Major Security Threat

. International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications(IJACSA) (2012)


Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are largely deployed in different sectors and applications, and Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) is proven to be the most feasible PKC for WSN security. ECC is believed to provide same level of security such as RSA with a much shorter key length, and thus they seem to be ideal for applications with small resources such a sensor network, smartcard, RFID, etc. However, like any other cryptographic primitive, ECC implementations are vulnerable to Power Analysis Attacks (PAAs) that may reveal the secret keys by exploiting leaked power consumption from running cryptographic devices (e.g. smart cards, mobile phones etc.). In this paper, we present a comprehensive study of major PAAs and its countermeasures on ECC cryptosystems. In addition, this paper describes critical concerns to be considered in designing PAAs on ECC particular for WSNs, and illustrates the need to conduct, in the near future, intensive researches for the development of these specific PAAs.

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