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Reverse engineering secure systems using physical attacks

Abstract : When considering the latest generation of encrypted mobile devices (BlackBerry’s PGP, Apple’s iPhone), data extraction by experts is an increasingly complex task. Forensic analyses even become a real challenge following an air crash or a terrorist attack. In this thesis, we have developed physical attacks on encrypted systems for the purpose of forensic analysis. A new low-temperature re-soldering technique of damaged electronic components, using a 42Sn/58Bi eutectic mixture, has been developed. Then we have exploited the physico-chemical properties of polymer adhesives and have used them for the extraction of encrypted data. A new technique has been developed to facilitate injection and high-frequency data modification. By a man-in-the-middle attack, the prototype allows analysing, in real-time, the data exchanges between the processor and the memory. Both techniques are now used in more complex attacks of cryptographic systems. Our research has led us to successfully sensitise polymer adhesives to laser attacks by pigmentation. This process allowed complex repairs with a laser with 15 micrometres precision and has been used in advanced forensic repair of crypto-processors and memory chips. Finally, the techniques developed in this thesis, put end-to-end and coupled with physical devices (X-ray 3D tomography, laser, SEM, fuming acids), have made it possible to have successful forensic transplants of encrypted systems in degraded conditions. We have successfully applied them, for the first time, on PGP-encrypted BlackBerry mobile phone.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - 5:45:23 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-01990062, version 1



Thibaut Heckmann. Reverse engineering secure systems using physical attacks. Cryptography and Security [cs.CR]. Université Paris sciences et lettres, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018PSLEE018⟩. ⟨tel-01990062⟩



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