Perform Power Analysis Side-Channel Attacks with the ChipWhisperer-Nano

Sharpen your side-channel attack (SCA) prowess with the new ChipWhisperer-Nano. From NewAE Technology, this tool is a low-cost SCA platform on a tiny board that contains both a capture tool for power analysis attacks as well as an STM32-based target for learning.

NewAE Technology is a provider of tools for embedded hardware security research. While they do sell their hardware products, their projects are open sourced, meaning anyone can build them. The ChipWhisperer-Nano (CWNANO) joins the SCA tool portfolio along with previous products like the ChipWhisperer Pro and Lite. Compared to the larger, and more expensive tools, the slimmed-down nano lacks some glitching features. Regardless, with an estimated BOM cost of about $20 (for a single unit), the CWNANO is an excellent learning or teaching tool.

Traditional power analysis attacks might use oscilloscopes and differential probes. While such tools can be helpful, especially in the beginning stages, they are expensive and a bit of overkill for most analyses. So, instead of an oscilloscope, the CWNANO’s capture hardware uses a dedicated 8-bit ADC chip interfaced to a SAM4S microcontroller. Together they sample the power rail and provide information back to the ChipWhisperer software. It provides timing and frequency analysis of the power signal while the target runs its algorithms.

If you’re new to side-channel power attacks, do not fret. The extensive Jupyter-based documentation walks through the basic concepts. It also provides examples like analysis for password bypass and AES attacks using different analysis techniques.

Inside the ChipWhisperer GitHub repo, you can find the open source software and various hardware options, including the PDF schematic of the CWNANO.

Check out the products page for information specific to the ChipWhisperer-Nano.

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