Prevention of information leakage by photo-coupling in smart card

Sung Shiou Shen*, Jung Hui Chiu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

1 Scopus citations


Advances in smart card technology encourages smart card use in more sensitive applications, such as storing important information and securing application. Smart cards are however vulnerable to side channel attacks. Power consumption and electromagnetic radiation of the smart card can leak information about the secret data protected by the smart card. Our paper describes two possible hardware countermeasures that protect against side channel information leakage. We show that power analysis can be prevented by adopting photo-coupling techniques. This method involves the use of LED with photovoltaic cells and photo-couplers on the power, reset, I/O and clock lines of the smart card. This method reduces the risk of internal data bus leakage on the external data lines. Moreover, we also discuss the effectiveness of reducing electromagnetic radiation by using embedded metal plates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-167
Number of pages8
JournalIEICE Transactions on Fundamentals of Electronics, Communications and Computer Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008


  • Differential power analysis
  • Electromagnetic analysis attacks
  • Information leakage
  • Multi-chip-module
  • Smart card


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