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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (M.S.E.C.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



As FPGA use becomes more diverse, the shared use of these devices becomes a security concern. Multi-tenant FPGAs that contain circuits from multiple independent sources or users will soon be prevalent in cloud and embedded computing environments. The recent discovery of a new attack vector using neighboring long wires in Xilinx SRAM FPGAs presents the possibility of covert information leakage from an unsuspecting user's circuit. The work makes two contributions that extend this finding. First, we rigorously evaluate several Intel SRAM FPGAs and confirm that long wire information leakage is also prevalent in these devices. Second, we present the first successful attack on an unsuspecting circuit in an FPGA using information passively obtained from neighboring long-lines. Information obtained from a single AES S-box input wire combined with analysis of encrypted output is used to rapidly expose an AES key. This attack is performed remotely without modifying the victim circuit, using electromagnetic probes or power measurements, or modifying the FPGA in any way. We show that our approach is effective for three different FPGA devices. Our results demonstrate that the attack can recover encryption keys from AES circuits running at 50MHz. Finally, we present results from the AES attack performed using a cloud FPGA in a Microsoft Project Catapult cluster. These experiments show the effect can be used to attack a remotely-accessed cloud FPGA.


First Advisor

Russell Tessier

Second Advisor

Daniel Holcomb