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Building the ChipWhisperer-Husky

Written by Colin O'Flynn
Upgraded Design The ChipWhisperer-Lite is an open-source tool for power analysis and fault injection. And Colin described its design in an article six years ago. Since then, the world has moved onward. Here, he talks about some adjustments required for building a new version of the ChipWhisperer, using a more recent FPGA while addressing supply chain headaches that are affecting hardware builds in 2021 and beyond. Back in 2015 I wrote an article “USB-to-FPGA Communications” (Circuit Cellar 299, June 2015) [1] describing the open-source ChipWhisperer-Lite, a device I designed for working with side-channel power analysis and fault injection. This used a Xilinx Spartan 6 FPGA alongside a microcontroller (MCU) resulting in a highly flexible architecture, enabling you to perform power measurements of devices along with clock and voltage fault injection. I’ve used this device (or the higher-end version, called the ChipWhisperer-Pro) in many of my articles since then. But the Spartan 6 used in this device has been outdated for some time, and does not work with modern design tools. In this article, I’ll be describing the next generation of tools developed to help you work with power analysis and fault injection. This will start with the ChipWhisperer-Husky, which has been in development—and even has a few units in the field—since early 2021. One major change with the ChipWhisperer-Husky is that I’m now describing the work of our small team. The majority of the real development—such as FPGA design, MCU firmware and Python interface—has been done primarily by my colleagues Jean-Pierre Thibault and Alex Dewar. In addition to this change of design, launching a hardware product in 2021 is much more difficult than it was in 2015 with supply chain challenges, so the iterations on the design have come more sporadically than in the past. But enough of where we’ve come from, let’s see where we ended up. HUSKY OVERVIEW To skip rig
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Building the ChipWhisperer-Husky

by Colin O'Flynn time to read: 7 min