An Instruction Set Extension to Support Software-Based Masking


In both hardware and software, masking can represent an effective means of hardening an implementation against side-channel attack vectors such as Differential Power Analysis (DPA). Focusing on software, however, the use of masking can present various challenges: specifically, it often 1) requires significant effort to translate any theoretical security properties into practice, and, even then, 2) imposes a significant overhead in terms of efficiency. To address both challenges, this paper explores the use of an Instruction Set Extension (ISE) to support masking in software-based implementations of a range of (symmetric) cryptographic kernels including AES: we design, implement, and evaluate such an ISE, using RISC-V as the base ISA. Our ISE-supported first-order masked implementation of AES, for example, is an order of magnitude more efficient than a software-only alternative with respect to both execution latency and memory footprint; this renders it comparable to an unmasked implementation using the same metrics, but also first-order secure.

IACR Transactions on Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems
Francesco Regazzoni
Francesco Regazzoni
Assistant Professor