Gambling for Success: The Lottery Ticket Hypothesis in Deep Learning-Based Side-Channel Analysis

Guilherme Perin, Lichao Wu, Stjepan Picek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific

2 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


Deep learning-based side-channel analysis (SCA) represents a strong approach for profiling attacks. Still, this does not mean it is trivial to find neural networks that perform well for any setting. Based on the developed neural network architectures, we can distinguish between small neural networks that are easier to tune and less prone to overfitting but could have insufficient capacity to model the data. On the other hand, large neural networks have sufficient capacity but can overfit and are more difficult to tune. This brings an interesting trade-off between simplicity and performance. This work proposes to use a pruning strategy and recently proposed Lottery Ticket Hypothesis (LTH) as an efficient method to tune deep neural networks for profiling SCA. Pruning provides a regularization effect on deep neural networks and reduces the overfitting posed by overparameterized models. We demonstrate that we can find pruned neural networks that perform on the level of larger networks, where we manage to reduce the number of weights by more than 90% on average. This way, pruning and LTH approaches become alternatives to costly and difficult hyperparameter tuning in profiling SCA. Our analysis is conducted over different masked AES datasets and for different neural network topologies. Our results indicate that pruning, and more specifically LTH, can result in competitive deep learning models.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Information Security
EditorsM. Stamp
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-97087-1
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameAdvances in Information Security
ISSN (Print)1568-2633
ISSN (Electronic)2512-2193

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


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