I'd like to test cryptographic implementations in FPGA against power analysis. Not being all that handy with hardware and such, I'm looking for an easy solution. What I've come across thus far:

  1. ChipWhisper (https://www.newae.com/chipwhisperer). Pros: Don't need a scope, don't need to tap power supply myself, don't need to design my own control setup, some support/examples available, various targets, ability to more easily study fault injection (clock/voltage). Cons: buying into an ecosystem, perhaps not versatile enough.
  2. SASEBO/SAKURA (https://satoh.cs.uec.ac.jp/SAKURA/hardware.html). Pros: Don't need to tap power, combines control/target into one board, used a lot in academic literature. Cons: Need a scope, not currently available, doesn't look like it's been updated or supported recently?
  3. FOBOS (https://cryptography.gmu.edu/fobos/). Pros: People smarter than me set this up, hopefully not to hard to get going, might get help if I ask, might be able to modify for other hardware. Cons: Need to acquire relevant hardware (specific control/target/scope), might have to modify hardware to get power measurements.

Anybody have suggestions or references for a "gentle" introduction or easy setup?

  • Welcome to the community. I'm afraid we can't give product recommendations here, only "general" advice in this case... Mar 18 at 10:29

1 Answer 1


I currently do research in the field of power side-channel analysis and my group have conducted SCA on both embedded systems and FPGAs.

Currently, my group soldered shunt resistors onto a costly FPGA (and we actually lost one in the process), so I do not recommend doing invasive actions to real FGPA boards. We use an oscilloscope to measure, but it's not a very trivial task (data analysis, commanding oscilloscope through Python, etc.).

I currently use the ChipWhisperer tool for embedded systems and I believe that this product is great for learning power analysis. ChipWhisperer does offer an FPGA power analysis tool. I would recommend buying a cheap ChipWhisperer-Lite (that does SCA on an embedded system) to first get into the groove of power analysis and its affect on security before jumping into the FPGA (which is somewhat costly).

If you're already familiar with doing power SCA (such as SPA, DPA, why it happens, etc.), I believe the easiest setup would be the ChipWhisperer. It doesn't require an oscilloscope (which can be difficult to utilize) and it's API is really easy to understand once you do the Juypter-Notebook courses they provide on their Github.

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