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This tutorial is a continuation from [[Tutorial CW305-1 Building a Project]]. Here, we'll use our hardware setup to find a fixed secret key that the Artix FPGA is using for AES encryption. This tutorial relies on previous knowledge from [[Tutorial B5 Breaking AES (Straightforward)]], so make sure you know how that attack works.
= Theoretical Background =
During this tutorial, we'll be working with a hardware AES implementation. This type of attack can be much more difficult than a software AES attack. In the software AES attacks, we needed hundreds or thousands of clock cycles to capture the algorithm's full execution. In contrast, a hardware AES implementation may have a variety of speeds. Depending on the performance of the hardware, a whole spectrum of execution speeds can be achieved by executing many operations in a single clock cycle. It is theoretically possible to execute the entire AES encryption in a single cycle, given enough hardware space and provided that the clock is not too fast. Most hardware accelerators are designed to complete one round or one large part of a round in a single cycle.
Here, every blue block is executed in one clock cycle. This means that an excellent candidate for a CPA attack is the difference between the input and output of the final round. It is likely that this state is stored in a port that is updated every round, so we expect that the Hamming distance between the round input and output is the most important factor on the power consumption. Also, the last round is the easiest to attack because it has no MixColumns operation. We'll use this Hamming distance as the target in our CPA attack.
= Capture Setup =
The hardware and software setup was completed in the previous tutorial. If you haven't completed it, finish [[Tutorial CW305-1 Building a Project]] first. If you don't want to build the entire project, use the second section of that tutorial to see how to connect to the board using the default bitstream.
Once you're ready, save your project and click Capture Many to record 5000 traces.
= Analysis =
Once we have our data, the analysis is pretty straightforward: a standard CPA attack is easy to do in the ChipWhisperer Analyzer. To set this up, open the Analyzer and load the captured data. Then, only one setting needs to be changed. In the Attack tab, change the Hardware Model to "HD: AES Last-Round State":