Light-Weight Cryptography for Ubiquitous Computing

Christof Paar
Ruhr-Universität Bochum

For many year, the cryptographic engineering community had worked on the problem of implementing symmetric and asymmetric ciphers as fast as possible. Typical problems were RSA accelerators or high-speed DES engines. However, the advent of ubiquitous computing has led to many pervasive devices which are extremely cost-constrained. An example are RFID tags but there are numerous other pervasive application -- ranging from automotive parts over sensor networks to consumer products such as computer gadgets -- which are extremely cost sensitive and for which cryptographic solutions have to provided with an optimized cost-performance ratio.

In this talk, I will present our research over the last few years in the area of light-weight cryptography. For asymmetric solutions, efficient hardware implementations of elliptic curve cryptosystems will be presented. We will describe a tiny ECC hardware engine which can provide elliptic curves with as little as 10,000 gates and execution times in the 100msec range for a point multiplication. In the symmetric case, we will present the smallest known DES hardware implementation. Our light-weight DES variant, DESL, further reduces the area requirements to 1800 gates. For higher security levels, both implementations can be equipped with key whitening at little extra costs and providing a security level of 112 bit.

Presentation (PDF File)

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