Side-Channel Attack Interview Questions

This blog lists out Side-Channel Attack Interview Questions that may be asked in job interviews. A side-channel attack is still in much of the research phase. But if you succeed in executing this type of attack, the secret key of encryption algorithms may be disclosed.

Q. What is Side-Channel Attack?

Ans: Side-Channel attacks can be classified into non-invasive attacks, semi-invasive attacks, and Invasive attacks. Here, attackers utilize leak information while operating such as information related to timings, power consumption, electromagnetic leaks, or acoustic (sound) information used to exploit computer systems.

In simple words, this type of attack is based on details gained from the physical implementation of a system. Theoretical weaknesses in algorithms will be ignored in this type of attack.

Q. List out types of Side-Channel Attacks.

Ans: Cache attack, Power monitoring attack, Timing attack, Acoustic cryptanalysis, Differential fault analysis, and optical side-channel attack are some of the types of side-channel attacks.

Q. Is machine learning helpful in side-channel attacks?

Ans: While attacking a computer system via a side-channel analysis, attackers gather so much data which is very difficult to analyze manually. Use of machine learning help in understanding the raw data easily and help in getting meaningful information.

Q. How to prevent side-channel attacks?

Ans: By following a few practices useful in preventing side-channel attacks:

  • Usage of business-grade equipment
  • If possible, restrict physical access to the internal circuitry of hardware
  • Usage of faraday cages and power conditioning to shield power-related attacks
  • Address space layout randomization (ASLR) helps in the prevention of memory- or cache-based attacks
  • Electromagnetic (EM) emission shielding
  • Usage of Anti-tamper protection modules

Q. What is a Timing Attack?

Ans: A timing attack utilizes the information related to the time taken to perform cryptographic operations and helps in identifying secret keys of cryptosystems. This type of attack breaks the system and extracts secret keys. This attack will depend upon the data used in the cryptographic implementations of Diffie-Hellman, RSA, DSS, and other systems.

Q. What are Cache Attacks?

Ans: A cache attack utilizes the weakness in a system when encryption and decryption are to be performed. Meltdown and Spectre is one of the most severe types of cache and timing-based side-channel attacks.

Q. What are power consumptions attacks?

Ans: This attack utilizes information related to power consumption information to perform encryption operations and helps identify or recover secret keys of cryptosystems. Measurement and analysis of power consumption will be used to identify the secret key.

Q. What are Differential Fault Analysis (DFA) attacks?

Ans: This type of attack utilizes the response by introducing a fault in a computer system to extract secret keys of cryptosystems. The main cause of this type of attack is the use of a highly complex design of the system.

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Disclaimer: This tutorial is for educational purpose only. Individual is solely responsible for any illegal act.

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