Analyzing the Leakage Resistance of the NIST’s Lightweight Crypto Competition’s Finalists

Corentin Verhamme*, Gaëtan Cassiers, François-Xavier Standaert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


We investigate the security of the NIST Lightweight Crypto Competition’s Finalists against side-channel attacks. We start with a mode-level analysis that allows us to put forward three candidates (Ascon, ISAP and Romulus-T) that stand out for their leakage properties and do not require a uniform protection of all their computations thanks to (expensive) implementation-level countermeasures. We then implement these finalists and evaluate their respective performances. Our results confirm the interest of so-called leveled implementations (where only the key derivation and tag generation require security against differential power analysis). They also suggest that these algorithms differ more by their qualitative features (e.g., two-pass designs to improve confidentiality with decryption leakage vs. one-pass designs, flexible overheads thanks to masking vs. fully mode-level, easier to implement, schemes) than by their quantitative features, which all improve over the AES and are quite sensitive to security margins against cryptanalysis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSmart Card Research and Advanced Applications - 21st International Conference, CARDIS 2022, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsIleana Buhan, Tobias Schneider
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-25319-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-25318-8
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2023
Event21st International Conference on Smart Card Research and Advanced Applications: CARDIS 2022 - Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 27 Nov 202229 Nov 2022

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume13820 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference21st International Conference on Smart Card Research and Advanced Applications
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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