Researchers claim better security chip cards with smart algorithms




Scientists from research CTIT, part of the University of Twente, together with researchers at KU Leuven developed algorithms that should make it harder to obtain secret keys of smartcards.

UT researcher Begül Bilgin together with Svetla Nikova KU Leuven algorithms were developed to seal leaks of information on smart cards. In addition, they have focused on two ways that hackers working to obtain secret keys on a smart card: the meticulous study of the power consumption of the chip in certain activities and the length of time required. An attacker can verify this information with which a chip is about to do it.

The algorithms make according to the scientists use of multi-party computation. In addition, the encryption operations are split, allowing a single part does not give direct access to the key. Also make sure the algorithms ensure that all sub operations are never active simultaneously. This is the power consumption of the chip may still be in relation with the operations that the microprocessor is performing, but should not the secret key information secure.

According to the investigators, the algorithms can be used in new chip cards, but they can also be used in software. As a result, the hold of, for example, encryption keys would be made more difficult, so that the risk is reduced that, for example cracked smart cards need to be replaced. This happened at the OV-chip card called a Mifare Classic chip contained and was easy to crack.



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