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What and Who
Title:Rational Protection Against Timing Attacks
Speaker:Boris Köpf
coming from:IMDEA Software Institute Madrid
Speakers Bio:
I joined the IMDEA Software Institute after completing my Ph.D. in the Information Security group of ETH Zurich and working as a postdoc in the Information Security and Cryptography Group of the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems. Before that, I studied mathematics at the Universidad de Chile, the Universidade Federal de Campinas, and the University of Konstanz, from which I received a M.Sc.
Event Type:Talk
Visibility:D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, SWS, RG1, MMCI
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Level:Public Audience
Date, Time and Location
Date:Thursday, 30 April 2015
Duration:60 Minutes
Building:E1 5
Timing attacks can effectively recover keys from cryptosystems. While they can be defeated using constant-time implementations, this defensive approach comes at the price of a performance penalty.  One is hence faced with the problem of striking a balance between performance and security against timing attacks.

This talk presents a game-theoretic approach to the problem, for the case of cryptosystems based on discrete logarithms. Namely, we identify the optimal countermeasure configuration as an equilibrium in a game between a resource-bounded timing adversary who strives to maximize the probability of key recovery, and a defender who strives to reduce the cost while maintaining a certain degree of security. The key novelty in our approach are bounds for the probability of key recovery, which are expressed as a function of the countermeasure configuration and the attack strategy of the adversary.

We put our techniques to work for a library implementation of ElGamal. A highlight of our results is that we can formally justify the use of an aggressively tuned but (slightly) leaky implementation over a defensive constant-time implementation, for some parameter ranges. The talk concludes with an outlook on how similar analyses can be performed automatically and for more general classes of systems.
Name(s):Sabine Nermerich
EMail:--email address not disclosed on the web
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  • Sabine Nermerich, 04/23/2015 12:25 PM -- Created document.