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Overview & Comparison

Overview

ChipWhisperer is a platform that makes researching and testing embedded side channel attacks simple, easy, replicable, and convient. In particular, ChipWhisperer focuses on power analysis and voltage/clock glitching.

This page compares the features of the three available capture side hardware devices: the CW1200 ChipWhisperer-Pro (CWPro), the CW1173 ChipWhisperer-Lite (CWLite), and the CW1101 ChipWhisperer-Nano (CWNano). As a quick overview

  • All three are capable of power analysis and glitching
    • The ChipWhisperer Nano cannot clock glitch, but can voltage glitch
  • The ChipWhisperer Nano is the lowest cost option, but has many limitations compared the ChipWhisperer-Lite and ChipWhisperer-Pro. These limit what attacks can be performed using it, especially against non-NewAE targets.
  • The ChipWhisperer-Lite and ChipWhisperer-Pro share the same basic specifications, but the Pro has additional features
    • These additional features, such as IO and Analog triggering, are espcially useful when researching attacks against non-NewAE targets, such as development boards. It also has SMA connectors for trigger input and output, allowing for easy interfacing with lab equipment.
  • All three capture devices can perform power analysis synchronous to the target's clock
    • This helps attacks succeed at much lower sampling frequencies than a conventional oscilloscope

Analog Capture and Clock

Feature ChipWhisperer-Pro ChipWhisperer-Lite ChipWhipserer-Nano
ADC Specs 10-bit 105MS/s 10-bit 105MS/s 8-bit 20MS/s
ADC Clock Source Internally generated (x1 or x4), external input (x1 or x4) Internally generated (x1 or x4), external input (x1 or x4) Internally generated, external input
Analog Input AC-Coupled, adjustable low-noise gain from -6.5dB to 55dB AC-Coupled, adjustable low-noise gain from -6.5dB to 55dB AC-Coupled, fixed gain of 20dB
Sample Buffer Size 98 119 samples 24 573 samples 50 000 samples
ADC Decimation Yes Yes No
ADC Offset Adjustment Yes, [0, 2^32) Yes, [0, 2^32) No
ADC Trigger Rising-edge, Falling-edge, High, Low Rising-edge, Falling-edge, High, Low Rising-edge
Presampling Yes Yes No
Phase Adjustment Yes, 5ns increments Yes, 5ns increments No
Capture Streaming Yes (10MS/s max) No No
Clock Generation Range 5-200MHz 5-200MHz 60MHz, divisible by 2, 4, 8, or 16
Clock Output Regular, with glitch inserted, glitch only Regular, with glitch inserted, glitch only Regular

Triggering

Feature ChipWhisperer-Pro ChipWhisperer-Lite ChipWhipserer-Nano
Modules Basic, Analog, SPI, UART Basic Basic
Analog Trigger Sum of Absolute Difference (128 samples) N/A N/A
Basic Trigger Inputs TIO 1-4, nRST, SMA TIO 1-4, nRST TIO 4
Basic Trigger Combination One of OR, AND, NAND One of OR, AND, NAND N/A

IO

Feature ChipWhisperer-Pro ChipWhisperer-Lite ChipWhipserer-Nano
GPIO Voltage 3.3V 3.3V 3.3V
Logic Outputs TIO 1-4, nRST, PDIC, PDID TIO 1-4, nRST, PDIC, PDID TIO 1-4, nRST, PDIC, PDID
Logic Inputs TIO 1-4 TIO 1-4 N/A
UART Serial TIO 1-4 assignment TIO 1-4 assignment Fixed TIO 1 and TIO 2
Clock Fixed, HS2 output, HS1 Input Fixed, HS2 output, HS1 input Fixed, HS2 output, HS1 input
Basic Trigger Inputs TIO 1-4, nRST, SMA TIO 1-4, nRST TIO 4
Basic Trigger Combination One of OR, AND, NAND One of OR, AND, NAND N/A
Trigger Out Yes No No
Programmers STM32F UART, Atmel PDI (for XMEGA), Atmel ISP (for AVR) STM32F UART, Atmel PDI (for XMEGA), Atmel ISP (for AVR) STM32F UART
Power rails 5V, 3.3V 3.3V 3.3V

Glitch

Feature ChipWhisperer-Pro ChipWhisperer-Lite ChipWhipserer-Nano
Voltage Glitching Yes Yes Yes
Clock Glitching Yes Yes No
Glitch Outputs Clock-XOR, Clock-OR, Glitch-Only, Enable-Only Clock-XOR, Clock-OR, Glitch-Only, Enable-Only Glitch-Only
Glitch Width 0-49.8% of a clock cycle, 100% (enable-only) 0-49.8% of a clock cycle, 100% Time increments between [0, 2^32)
Glitch Width Increments 0.4% of a clock cycle 0.4% of a clock cycle ~8.3ns
Glitch Offset 0-49.8% of a clock cycle, 100% (enable-only) 0-49.8% of a clock cycle, 100% Time increments between [0, 2^32), high jitter
Glitch Offset Increments 0.4% of a clock cycle 0.4% of a clock cycle ~8.3ns, high jitter
Glitch Cycle Offset [0, 2^32) [0, 2^32) N/A
Glitch Cycle Repeat [0, 8192] [0, 8192] N/A
Voltage Glitch Type High-power, low-power crowbar High-power, low-power crowbar Low-power crowbar
Voltage Glitch Pulse Current 20A 20A 4A

ChipWhisperer-Pro features over ChipWhisperer-Lite

  • Additional trigger modules - Analog waveform and UART/SPI
  • 10MS/s streaming mode, allowing almost unlimited sample size
  • SMA connectors for trigger input/output
  • Much larger sample buffer (24k samples on Lite vs 98k samples on Pro)
  • Waterproof case
  • LCD Screen
  • Labled status LEDs
  • 5V available on 20pin connector