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Physical Fault Injection and Side-Channel Attacks on Mobile Devices: A Comprehensive Survey

by   Carlton Shepherd, et al.

Today's mobile devices contain densely packaged system-on-chips (SoCs) with multi-core, high-frequency CPUs and complex pipelines. In parallel, sophisticated SoC-assisted security mechanisms have become commonplace for protecting device data, such as trusted execution environments (TEEs), full-disk and file-based encryption. Both advancements have dramatically complicated the use of conventional physical attacks, which has required the development of specialised attacks. In this survey, we consolidate recent developments in physical fault injections (FIAs) and side-channel attacks (SCAs) on modern mobile devices. In total, we comprehensively survey over 50 fault injection and side-channel attack papers published between 2009–2021. We evaluate the prevailing methods, compare existing attacks using a common framework, identify several challenges and shortcomings, and suggest future directions of research.


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