SmartCard Lab

Lecturer (assistant)
Duration4 SWS
TermSommersemester 2024
Language of instructionGerman
Position within curriculaSee TUMonline
DatesSee TUMonline

Admission information

See TUMonline
Note: Die Teilnahme an der Einführungsveranstaltung ist verpflichtend.


At the end of this module, students are able to design a complex digital embedded system. They achieve this by designing a smartcard, realized on a microcontroller platform. As a result of the lab, the students can present a working smartcard which is able to decrypt a data stream. The students will be familiar with smart card communication protocols, Microcontroller programming, countermeasures to Differential Power Attacks (DPA) attacks on smartcards and embedded devices, and basic cryptographic algorithms.


In this lab, students work together in teams to design and implement a chip card (smart card) used to decrypt a data stream. The scenario is similar to a pay TV application, where a high level of security is necessary. The software for the smart card runs on a microcontroller. To verify the security of the smart card and to evaluate the security measures, side channel attacks are conducted.


Good knowledge of digital circuits, basics of C programming language, basic knowledge of Matlab. The following modules should be passed before taking the course: - Cryptology (Kryptologie) It is recommended to take the following modules additionally: - Secure Implementation of Cryptographic Algorithms

Teaching and learning methods

Learning method: In addition to the individual methods of the students, information is provided by the advisors during milestone reports and discussions. Teaching method: Students are free to work on their own schedule on the laboratory tasks in between the milestone dates. Students must work together in teams and can work in institute rooms, or remotely from another site. Advisors are available to support with severe problems.


Examination with the following elements: - Oral examination and report (50%) - Presentation (middle) (25%) - Final presentation (25%)

Recommended literature

Power Analysis Attacks: Revealing the Secrets of Smart Cards, Stefan Mangard, Thomas Popp, Elisabeth Oswald, ISBN-13: 978-0387308579 Handbuch der Chipkarten, Wolfgang Rankl und Wolfgang Effing, ISBN-13: 978-3-446-40402-1 Understanding Cryptography, Christof Paar and Jan Pelzl, ISBN-13: 978-3-642-04100-6


Additional Information

Offered in winter and summer semester.


During the course of this lab, students learn how attacks on the implementation of cryptographic algorithms (so-called Side-Channel Attacks) work, and learn to implement countermeasures that help thwart these attacks. Students work in groups of 2-3 people. <br/> The attacks are carried out with high-precision, high-resolution oscilloscopes. The data measurements are then processed with Matlab on a PC. The cryptographic algorithms with the attack countermeasures are implemented on 8-bit microcontrollers, which can be accessed via a standard interface with a smartcard reader (ISO 7816 UART).

Introduction to the Lab: Introduction to the lab tasks, and presentation of attack scenarios

Introduction to DPA (Differential Power Analysis): Overview of the AES algorithm, attacks on the implementation of AES and demonstration.

Integration phase:

Creation of a clone card by using a key extracted by performing attacks on the reference card.

  • Work distribution:
  • Team A: Differential Power Analysis (DPA) attack, extraction of cryptographic keys, and documentation
  • Team B: Design of a Smartcard based on a microcontroller, creation of a test environment, implementation of the ISO7816 protocol

Presentation of intermediate results

Introduction of countermeasures:

  • Work distribution:
  • Team A: Implementation of attack countermeasures
  • Team B: DPA attacks on the new card, and evaluation of the countermeasures

Final presentation

Please find above the scheduled dates for the lectures and presentations.

Contact: Michael Gruber,