SPARTA Results

Experimental analysis of the laser-induced instruction skip fault model

Jean-Max Dutertre, Timothe ́ Riom, Olivier Potin, and Jean-Baptiste Rigaud

Microcontrollers storing valuable data or using security functions are vulnerable to fault injection attacks. Among the various types of faults, instruction skips induced at runtime proved to be effective against identification routines or encryption algorithms. Several research works assessed a fault model that consists in a single instruction skip, i.e. the ability to prevent one chosen instruction in a program from being executed. This assessment is used to design countermeasures able to withstand a single instruction skip. We question this fault model on experimental basis and report the possibility to induce with a laser an arbitrary number of instruction skips. This ability to erase entire sections of a firmware has strong implications regarding the design of countermeasures.

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