Evaluation of immunity of the Resistive Memory to Power Analysis

Background: Resistive memory is a new technology based on a passive circuit element called Memristor, which changes its resistance value based on the current flowing through it. Memristors are nanoscale elements that can be easily integrated in a typical VLSI manufacturing process. Therefore, they present high potential as a super-sized embedded memory in various applications. One of them is security. Most of the semiconductor devices that deal with security need an embedded memory. Resistive RAM can be a good match for this purpose. But is it really secure? Various side channel attacks such as power analysis (SPA/DPA) are known today as an efficient attack that can reveal secrets from secure devices. The goal of this project is to check whether power analysis can reveal information about data read or written into resistive RAM.

Project Description: In this project, the student will work with a development board (AM13L-STK2) of the first microcontroller with integrated Resistive RAM from Panasonic (MN101LR05D).  The board is shown above. The project will comprise:

  1. Developing real-time firmware for the microcontroller; the firmware will read and write different patterns to the memory
  2. Using embedded software development and debug tools
  3. Developing a method for synchronization between the firmware and the measuring equipment (oscilloscope)
  4. Sampling power consumption traces of the device with the oscilloscope
  5. Analyzing power traces using digital signal processing algorithms and checking correlation with memory accesses

In this project the student will acquire multiple capabilities, such as real-time programming and debugging, working with measuring equipment, data acquisition and analysis.

Project prerequisite: digital systems, lab 1

Supervisor: Leonid Azriel    leonida@tx.technion.ac.il