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Whip the Whisperer: Blackhat 2022

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Cryptographic side channels are well-known and understood in the industry. There are also many countermeasures against side channels to reduce the leakage risk. However, many implementations in the field are leaky because of the combination of security experts and the absence of a good pre-silicon side channel analysis tool.

In this presentation, we show how common hardware design tools can be used to perform pre-silicon power simulations and how they can be used to detect leakages. This presentation also includes a case study of possible countermeasures being leaky and how simulation can help pinpoint leaky elements. There are surprising results where non-related software instructions leak, caused by microarchitectural interaction in the CPU pipeline. Armed with all this knowledge, those issues can be fixed.

This presentation is interesting for hardware and software designers to see how tools can be used to pinpoint leakage down to the gate or code level and for researchers to find new side channels due to processor design.