Practical Algebraic Side-Channel Attacks Against ACORN

  • Alexandre AdomnicaiEmail author
  • Laurent Masson
  • Jacques J. A. Fournier
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11396)


The authenticated cipher ACORN is one of the two finalists of the CAESAR competition and is intended for lightweight applications. Because such use cases require protection against physical attacks, several works have been undertaken to achieve secure implementations. Although dedicated threshold and masked schemes have been proposed, no practical side-channel attack against ACORN has been published in the literature yet. It has been theoretically demonstrated that ACORN is vulnerable against differential power analysis but the feasibility of the attack has not been validated in a practical manner. This paper details the results obtained when putting the attack into practice against a software implementation running on a 32-bit micro-controller. Especially, these practical results led us to propose two optimizations of the reference attack: one that requires less knowledge of initial vectors and another one that is less prone to errors and requires fewer acquisitions.


ACORN Authenticated encryption Side-channel attacks 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trusted ObjectsAix-en-ProvenceFrance
  2. 2.Mines Saint-Étienne, CEA-Tech, Centre CMPGardanneFrance
  3. 3.Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CEA-LETI, DSYSGrenobleFrance

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