skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, June 13 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, June 14 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: High-Performance Hardware Implementation of CRYSTALS-Dilithium
Many currently deployed public-key cryptosystems are based on the difficulty of the discrete logarithm and integer factorization problems. However, given an adequately sized quantum computer, these problems can be solved in polynomial time as a function of the key size. Due to the future threat of quantum computing to current cryptographic standards, alternative algorithms that remain secure under quantum computing are being evaluated for future use. One such algorithm is CRYSTALS-Dilithium, a lattice-based digital signature scheme, which is a finalist in the NIST Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC) competition. As a part of this evaluation, high-performance implementations of these algorithms must be investigated. This work presents a high-performance implementation of CRYSTALS-Dilithium targeting FPGAs. In particular, we present a design that achieves the best latency for an FPGA implementation to date. We also compare our results with the most-relevant previous work on hardware implementations of NIST Round 3 post-quantum digital signature candidates.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
2021 International Conference on Field-Programmable Technology (ICFPT)
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1 to 10
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Johansson, Thomas ; Smith-Tone, Daniel (Ed.)
    In 2022, NIST selected the first set of four post-quantum cryptography schemes for near-term standardization. Three of them - CRYSTALS-Kyber, CRYSTALS-Dilithium, and FALCON - belong to the lattice-based family and one - SPHINCS+ - to the hash-based family. NIST has also announced an ”on-ramp” for new digital signature candidates to add greater diversity to the suite of new standards. One promising set of schemes - a subfamily of code-based cryptography - is based on the linear code equivalence problem. This well-studied problem can be used to design flexible and efficient digital signature schemes. One of these schemes, LESS, was submitted to the NIST standardization process in June 2023. In this work, we present a high-performance hardware implementation of LESS targeting Xilinx FPGAs. The obtained results are compared with those for the state-of-the-art hardware implementations of CRYSTALS-Dilithium, SPHINCS+, and FALCON. 
    more » « less
  2. Motivated by the rise of quantum computers, existing public-key cryptosystems are expected to be replaced by post-quantum schemes in the next decade in billions of devices. To facilitate the transition, NIST is running a standardization process which is currently in its final Round. Only three digital signature schemes are left in the competition, among which Dilithium and Falcon are the ones based on lattices. Besides security and performance, significant attention has been given to resistance against implementation attacks that target side-channel leakage or fault injection response. Classical fault attacks on signature schemes make use of pairs of faulty and correct signatures to recover the secret key which only works on deterministic schemes. To counter such attacks, Dilithium offers a randomized version which makes each signature unique, even when signing identical messages. In this work, we introduce a novel Signature Correction Attack which not only applies to the deterministic version but also to the randomized version of Dilithium and is effective even on constant-time implementations using AVX2 instructions. The Signature Correction Attack exploits the mathematical structure of Dilithium to recover the secret key bits by using faulty signatures and the public-key. It can work for any fault mechanism which can induce single bit-flips. For demonstration, we are using Rowhammer induced faults. Thus, our attack does not require any physical access or special privileges, and hence could be also implemented on shared cloud servers. Using Rowhammer attack, we inject bit flips into the secret key s1 of Dilithium, which results in incorrect signatures being generated by the signing algorithm. Since we can find the correct signature using our Signature Correction algorithm, we can use the difference between the correct and incorrect signatures to infer the location and value of the flipped bit without needing a correct and faulty pair. To quantify the reduction in the security level, we perform a thorough classical and quantum security analysis of Dilithium and successfully recover 1,851 bits out of 3,072 bits of secret key $s_{1}$ for security level 2. Fully recovered bits are used to reduce the dimension of the lattice whereas partially recovered coefficients are used to to reduce the norm of the secret key coefficients. Further analysis for both primal and dual attacks shows that the lattice strength against quantum attackers is reduced from 2128 to 281 while the strength against classical attackers is reduced from 2141 to 289. Hence, the Signature Correction Attack may be employed to achieve a practical attack on Dilithium (security level 2) as proposed in Round 3 of the NIST post-quantum standardization process. 
    more » « less
  3. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) generates and distributes digital certificates to provide the root of trust for securing digital networking systems. To continue securing digital networking in the quantum era, PKI should transition to use quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithms. The cryptography community is developing quantum-resistant primitives/algorithms, studying, and analyzing them for cryptanalysis and improvements. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) selected finalist algorithms for the post-quantum digital signature cipher standardization, which are Dilithium, Falcon, and Rainbow. We study and analyze the feasibility and the processing performance of these algorithms in memory/size and time/speed when used for PKI, including the key generation from the PKI end entities (e.g., a HTTPS/TLS server), the signing, and the certificate generation by the certificate authority within the PKI. The transition to post-quantum from the classical ciphers incur changes in the parameters in the PKI, for example, Rainbow I significantly increases the certificate size by 163 times when compared with RSA 3072. Nevertheless, we learn that the current X.509 supports the NIST post-quantum digital signature ciphers and that the ciphers can be modularly adapted for PKI. According to our empirical implementations-based study, the post-quantum ciphers can increase the certificate verification time cost compared to the current classical cipher and therefore the verification overheads require careful considerations when using the post-quantum-cipher-based certificates. 
    more » « less
  4. Quantum computing challenges the computational hardness assumptions anchoring the security of public-key ciphers, such as the prime factorization and the discrete logarithm problem. To prepare for the quantum era and withstand the attacks equipped with quantum computing, the security and cryptography communities are designing new quantum-resistant public-key ciphers. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is collecting and standardizing the post-quantum ciphers, similarly to its past involvements in establishing DES and AES as symmetric cipher standards. The NIST finalist algorithms for public-key signatures are Dilithium, Falcon, and Rainbow. Finding common ground to compare these algorithms can be difficult because of their design, the underlying computational hardness assumptions (lattice based vs. multivariate based), and the different metrics used for security strength analyses in the previous research (qubits vs. quantum gates). We overcome such challenges and compare the security and the performances of the finalist post-quantum ciphers of Dilithium, Falcon, and Rainbow. For security comparison analyses, we advance the prior literature by using the depth-width cost for quantum circuits (DW cost) to measure the security strengths and by analyzing the security in Universal Quantum Gate Model and with Quantum Annealing. For performance analyses, we compare the algorithms’ computational loads in the execution time as well as the communication costs and implementation overheads when integrated with Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)/Internet Protocol (IP). Our work presents a security comparison and performance analysis as well as the trade-off analysis to inform the post-quantum cipher design and standardization to protect computing and networking in the post-quantum era. 
    more » « less
  5. With the advent of large-scale quantum computers, factoring and discrete logarithm problems could be solved using the polynomialtime quantum algorithms. To ensure public-key security, a transition to quantum-resistant cryptographic protocols is required. Performance of hardware accelerators targeting different platforms and diverse application goals plays an important role in PQC candidates’ differentiation. Hardware accelerators based on FPGAs and ASICs also provide higher flexibility to create a very low area or ultra-high performance implementations at the high cost of the other. While the hardware/software codesign development of PQC schemes has already received an increasing research effort, a cost analysis of efficient pure hardware implementation is still lacking. On the other hand, since FPGA has various types of hardware resources, evaluating and making the accurate and fair comparison of hardware-based implementations against each other is very challenging. Without a common foundation, apples are compared to oranges. This paper demonstrates a pure hardware architecture for Kyber as one of the finalists in the third round of the NIST post-quantum cryptography standardization process. To enable real, realistic, and comparable evaluations in PQC schemes over hardware platforms, we compare our architecture over the ASIC platform as a common foundation showing that it outperforms the previous works in the literature. 
    more » « less