Maya: Using Formal Control to Obfuscate Power Side Channels

Raghavendra Pradyumna Pothukuchi, Sweta Yamini Pothukuchi, Petros G Voulgaris, Alexander G. Schwing, Josep Torrellas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The security of computers is at risk because of information leaking through their power consumption. Attackers can use advanced signal measurement and analysis to recover sensitive data from this side channel. To address this problem, this article presents Maya, a simple and effective defense against power side channels. The idea is to use formal control to re-shape the power dissipated by a computer in an application-transparent mannerpreventing attackers from learning any information about the applications that are running. With formal control, a controller can reliably keep power consumption close to a desired target function even when runtime conditions change unpredictably. By selecting the target function intelligently, the controller can make power to follow any desired shape, appearing to carry activity information which, in reality, is unrelated to the application. Maya can be implemented in privileged software, firmware and hardware. Maya has already thwarted a newly developed remote power attack.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalIEEE Micro
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Browsers
  • Generators
  • Hardware
  • Pipelines
  • Power measurement
  • Software
  • Temperature measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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