Tom’s Hardware highlights DPA countermeasures

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 27th, 2016.

Earlier this week, we announced that NVIDIA had licensed Rambus’ Differential Power Analysis (DPA) countermeasures to protect its visual computing products against side-channel attacks.

As Nathaniel Mott of Tom’s Hardware reports, Rambus’ countermeasures will help protect NVIDIA’s GPUs from side-channel attacks that steal encryption keys by measuring the power consumption of a device.

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“Attacks like this can be used to break into protected systems and undermine the common encryption protocols used to secure private data,” he writes. “As computers control more objects–be it through AI, self-driving vehicle technologies, or the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT)–these side-channel attacks could simultaneously grow in popularity and in their ability to wreak havoc on people’s lives.”

By licensing DPA countermeasures, says Mott, NVIDIA is making sure it’s prepared for all types of potential attacks.

“It’s not enough to encrypt information, prevent it from being posted to the internet, or even making sure a device is completely self-contained,” he explains. “If someone can conduct a side-channel attack, there’s a good chance they’ll be able to gain access to devices to use them for nefarious purposes… Increasingly connected lives create a growing number of attack vectors, which means Rambus and NVIDIA working together to block these attacks is likely to pay off sometime in the near future.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Rambus Press, DPA is a type of side-channel attack that involves monitoring variations in the electrical power consumption or EM emissions from a target device. These measurements can then be used to derive cryptographic keys and other sensitive information from silicon.

This is why Rambus’ Cryptography Research division has developed a comprehensive portfolio of application-specific hardware core and software library solutions that can be used to build DPA resistant products. It should be noted that Rambus has licensed its DPA countermeasures to a number of companies over the past year, including Boeing, Winbond, NAGRA and The Athena Group.

Interested in learning more? You can check out our DPA countermeasures product page here.