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Journal Articles Journal of Cryptographic Engineering Year : 2016

Smart security management in secure devices


Among other threats, secure components are subjected to physical attacks whose aim is to recover the secret information they store. Most of the work carried out to protect these components generally consists in developing protections (or countermeasures) taken one by one. But this “countermeasure-centered” approach drastically decreases the performance of the chip in terms of power, speed and availability. In order to overcome this limitation, we propose a complementary approach: smart dynamic management of the whole set of countermeasures embedded in the component. Three main specifications for such management are required in a real world application (for example, a conditional access system for Pay-TV): it has to provide capabilities for the chip to distinguish between attacks and normal use cases (without the help of a human being and in a robust but versatile way); it also has to be based on mechanisms which dynamically find a trade-off between security and performance; all these mecanisms have to be formalized in a way that is clearly understandable by the designer. In this article, a prototype implementing such a security management system is described. The solution is based on a double-processor architecture: one processor embeds a representative set of countermeasures (and mechanisms to define their parameters) and executes the application code. The second processor, on the same chip, applies a given security strategy, but without requesting sensitive data from the first processor. The chosen strategy is based on fuzzy logic reasoning to enable the designer to describe, using a fairly simple formalism, both the attack paths and the normal use cases. A proof of concept has been proposed for the smart card part of a conditional access for Pay-TV, but it could be easily fine-tuned for other applications.

Dates and versions

emse-01447976 , version 1 (27-01-2017)



Bruno Robisson, Michel Agoyan, Patrick Soquet, Sébastien Le-Henaff, Franck Wajsbürt, et al.. Smart security management in secure devices. Journal of Cryptographic Engineering, 2016, ⟨10.1007/s13389-016-0143-4⟩. ⟨emse-01447976⟩
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