Enhancing Time-Frequency Analysis with Zero-Mean Preprocessing

Sunghyun Jin, Philip Johansson, Heeseok Kim, Seokhie Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Side-channel analysis is a critical threat to cryptosystems on the Internet of Things and in relation to embedded devices, and appropriate side-channel countermeasure must be required for physical security. A combined countermeasure approach employing first-order masking and desynchronization simultaneously is a general and cost-efficient approach to counteracting side-channel analysis. With the development of side-channel countermeasures, there are plenty of advanced attacks introduced to defeat such countermeasures. At CARDIS 2013, Belgarric et al. first proposed time-frequency analysis, a promising attack regarding the complexity of computation and memory compared to other attacks, such as conventional second-order side-channel analysis after synchronization. Nevertheless, their time-frequency analysis seems to have lower performance than expected against some datasets protected by combined countermeasures. It is therefore required to study the factors that affect the performance of time-frequency analysis. In this paper, we investigate Belgarric et al.’s time-frequency analysis and conduct a mathematical analysis in regard to the preprocessing of frequency information for second-order side-channel analysis. Based on this analysis, we claim that zero-mean preprocessing enhances the performance of time-frequency analysis. We verify that our analysis is valid through experimental results from two datasets, which are different types of first-order masked Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) software implementations. The experimental results show that time-frequency analysis with zero-mean preprocessing seems to have an enhanced or complementary performance compared to the analysis without preprocessing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2477
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Apr 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was supported by the National R&D Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (2020M3F3A2A01082591).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Desynchronization
  • Fourier transform
  • Hiding
  • Masking
  • Second-order side-channel analysis
  • Time-frequency analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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