Improved differential cache attacks on SMS4

Phuong Ha Nguyen, Chester Rebeiro, Debdeep Mukhopadhyay, Huaxiong Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

8 Citations (Scopus)


Block ciphers that have Feistel structures are prone to a class of cache attacks known as differential cache attacks, which monitor power or timing side-channels to reveal the secret key. Differential cache attacks were first demonstrated on the block cipher CLEFIA, which has a type-2 generalized Feistel structure. In this paper we improve the attack methodology by showing that a sophisticated method of choosing plaintexts can result in a considerable reduction in attack complexity. This coupled with other cryptanalytic techniques, when applied to the block cipher SMS4, requires just 210 plaintexts to recover the SMS4 secret key from power traces for a 64 byte cache line. Further, the attack becomes more dangerous for large cache lines. For example, with a 128 byte cache line, only 52 power traces are required. Experimental validation of the complete attack has been done on an Intel Xeon microprocessor. Further we suggest an alteration to the SMS4 algorithm that can counter this attack.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInformation Security and Cryptology - 8th International Conference, INSCRYPT 2012, Revised Selected Papers
Place of PublicationBerlin; Heidelberg
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages17
Volume7763 LNCS
ISBN (Print)9783642385186
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event8th China International Conference on Information Security and Cryptology, INSCRYPT 2012 - Beijing, China
Duration: 28 Nov 201230 Nov 2012

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume7763 LNCS
ISSN (Print)03029743
ISSN (Electronic)16113349


Other8th China International Conference on Information Security and Cryptology, INSCRYPT 2012


  • Block-cipher
  • differential cache attack
  • SMS4

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