A Side-Channel Resistant Implementation of SABER

Wednesday, June 17, 2020
ACM- Journal on Emerging Technologies in Computing Systems, 2020

Authors: Michiel Van Beirendonck and Jan-Pieter D'Anvers and Angshuman Karmakar and Josep Balasch and Ingrid Verbauwhede

Accepted paper for the ACM- Journal on Emerging Technologies in Computing Systems, 2020

[Abstract] The candidates for the NIST Post-Quantum Cryptography standardization have undergone extensive studies on efficiency and theoretical security, but research on their side-channel security is largely lacking. This remains a considerable obstacle for their real-world deployment, where side-channel security can be a critical requirement. This work describes a side-channel resistant instance of Saber, one of the lattice-based candidates, using masking as a countermeasure. Saber proves to be very efficient to mask due to two specific design choices: power-of-two moduli, and limited noise sampling of learning with rounding. A major challenge in masking lattice-based cryptosystems is the integration of bit-wise operations with arithmetic masking, requiring algorithms to securely convert between masked representations. The described design includes a novel primitive for masked logical shifting on arithmetic shares, as well as adapts an existing masked binomial sampler for Saber. An implementation is provided for an ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller, and its side-channel resistance is experimentally demonstrated. The masked implementation features a 2.5x overhead factor, significantly lower than the 5.7x previously reported for a masked variant of NewHope. Masked key decapsulation requires less than 3,000,000 cycles on the Cortex-M4 and consumes less than 12kB of dynamic memory, making it suitable for deployment in embedded platforms.