GRINCH: A Cache Attack against GIFT Lightweight Cipher

Cezar Reinbrecht, Abdullah Aljuffri, Said Hamdioui, Mottaqiallah Taouil, Johanna Sepulveda

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) has recently started a competition with the objective to standardize lightweight cryptography (LWC). The winning schemes will be deployed in Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, a key step for the current and future information and communication technology market. GIFT is an efficient lightweight cipher and it is used by one-fourth of the LWC candidates in the NIST LWC competition. Thus, its security evaluation is critical. One vital threat to the security are so-called logical side-channel attacks based on cache observations. In this work, we propose a novel cache attack on GIFT referred to as GRINCH. We analyzed the vulnerabilities of GIFT and exploited them in our attack. The results show that the attack is effective and that the full key could be recovered with less than 400 encryptions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2021 Design, Automation & Test in Europe Conference & Exhibition (DATE)
Place of PublicationPiscataway
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-9819263-5-4
ISBN (Print)978-1-7281-6336-9
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event2021 Design, Automation & Test in Europe Conference & Exhibition (DATE) - Virtual, Virtual/Grenoble, France
Duration: 1 Feb 20215 Feb 2021


Conference2021 Design, Automation & Test in Europe Conference & Exhibition (DATE)
Abbreviated titleDATE'21
Internet address


  • Lightweight cipher
  • GIFT cipher
  • cache attack
  • Micro-architectural attack


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