Adjusting Laser Injections for Fully Controlled Faults

  • Franck CourbonEmail author
  • Philippe Loubet-Moundi
  • Jacques J. A. Fournier
  • Assia Tria
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8622)


Hardware characterizations of integrated circuits have been evolving rapidly with the advent of more precise, sophisticated and cost-efficient tools. In this paper we describe how the fine tuning of a laser source has been used to characterize, set and reset the state of registers in a 90 nm chip. By adjusting the incident laser beam’s location, it is possible to choose to switch any register value from ‘\(0\)’ to ‘\(1\)’ or vice-versa by targeting the PMOS side or the NMOS side. Plus, we show how to clear a register by selecting a laser beam’s power. With the help of imaging techniques, we are able to explain the underlying phenomenon and provide a direct link between the laser mapping and the physical gate structure. Thus, we correlate the localization of laser fault injections with implementations of the PMOS and NMOS areas in the silicon substrate. This illustrates to what extent laser beams can be used to monitor the bits stored within registers, with adverse consequences in terms of security evaluation of integrated circuits.


Laser fault injection Registers attacks Bit set and reset Fault model 



We gratefully acknowledge technical support and knowledge sharing of Pascal Moitrel. We also would like to thank Francis Olivier for proofreading this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franck Courbon
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Philippe Loubet-Moundi
    • 1
  • Jacques J. A. Fournier
    • 3
  • Assia Tria
    • 3
  1. 1.GEMALTO, Security LabsLa CiotatFrance
  2. 2.Ecole des Mines de Saint-Etienne, CMP-GC/LSASGardanneFrance
  3. 3.CEA, CEA Tech Region, DPACA/LSASGardanneFrance

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