I know it is possible to obtain the key from some cryptographic schemes by using side channel attack on hard drive such as noise and magnetic fields. I was wondering if it was possible to use side channel attack on solid state drives? I have yet to find a paper on this topic.

1 Answer 1


The problem with SSDs or other encrypted drives, is side channels attacks are ONLY possible while the device is operating with the key. You need to monitor it doing active encryptions/decryptions WITH the real key.

95% of people wanting to break SSDs have them sitting on the table, without the key. So your "classic" side channel attacks aren't relevant (since if the key is encrypted with another key correctly derived from a password, the drive sitting on the table does not know the real decryption key).

The AES engines in most drives won't be SCA resistant (I imagine), so it's probably possible to do an attack. But again it's only possible to do so while the drive is operating under normal conditions. They could be useful (SCA on a laptop sitting on a desk, you can put a sensor right under the drive?), but I think if you have the ability to get that close to the target computer there is normally better (easier) attacks.

  • Are you sure OP is talking about SED drives?
    – forest
    Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 2:50

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