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  1. Adhikari, Avishek ; Küsters, Ralf ; Preneel, Bart (Ed.)
    The field of post-quantum cryptography aims to develop and analyze algorithms that can withstand classical and quantum cryptanalysis. The NIST PQC standardization process, now in its third round, specifies ease of protection against side-channel analysis as an important selection criterion. In this work, we develop and validate a masked hardware implementation of Saber key encapsulation mechanism, a third-round NIST PQC finalist. We first design a baseline lightweight hardware architecture of Saber and then apply side-channel countermeasures. Our protected hardware implementation is significantly faster than previously reported protected software and software/hardware co-design implementations. Additionally, applying side-channel countermeasures to our baseline design incurs approximately 2.9x and 1.4x penalty in terms of the number of LUTs and latency, respectively, in modern FPGAs.
  2. Lightweight authenticated ciphers are crucial in many resource-constrained applications, including hardware security. To protect Intellectual Property (IPs) from theft and reverse-engineering, multiple obfuscation methods have been developed. An essential component of such schemes is the need for secrecy and authenticity of the obfuscation keys. Such keys may need to be exchanged through the unprotected channels, and their recovery attempted using side-channel attacks. However, the use of the current AES-GCM standard to protected key exchange requires a substantial area and power overhead. NIST is currently coordinating a standardization process to select lightweight algorithms for resource-constrained applications. Although security against cryptanalysis is paramount, cost, performance, and resistance to side-channel attacks are among the most important selection criteria. Since the cost of protection against side-channel attacks is a function of the algorithm, quantifying this cost is necessary for estimating its cost and performance in real-world applications. In this work, we investigate side-channel resistant lightweight implementations of an authenticated cipher TinyJAMBU, one of ten finalists in the current NIST LWC standardization process. Our results demonstrate that these implementations achieve robust security against side-channel attacks while keeping the area and power consumption significantly lower than it is possible using the current standards.
  3. Twenty five Round 2 candidates in the NIST Lightweight Cryptography (LWC) process have been implemented in hardware by groups from all over the world. All implementations compliant with the LWC Hardware API, proposed in 2019, have been submitted for hardware benchmarking to George Mason University's LWC benchmarking team. The received submissions were first verified for correct functionality and compliance with the hardware API's specification. Then, the execution times in clock cycles, as a function of input sizes, have been determined using behavioral simulation. The compatibility of all implementations with FPGA toolsets from three major vendors, Xilinx, Intel, and Lattice Semiconductor was verified. Optimized values of the maximum clock frequency and resource utilization metrics, such as the number of look-up tables (LUTs) and flip-flops (FFs), were obtained by running optimization tools, such as Minerva, ATHENa, and Xeda. The raw post-place and route results were then converted into values of the corresponding throughputs for long, medium-size, and short inputs. The results were presented in the form of easy to interpret graphs and tables, demonstrating the relative performance of all investigated algorithms. An effort was made to make the entire process as transparent as possible and results easily reproducible by other groups.
  4. Katzenbeisser, Stefan ; Schaumont, Patrick (Ed.)
    LowMC is a parameterizable block cipher developed for use in Multi-Party Computation (MPC) and Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE). In these applications, linear operations are much less expensive in terms of resource utilization compared to the non-linear operations due to their low multiplicative complexity. In this work, we implemented two versions of LowMC -- unrolled and lightweight. Both implementations are realized using RTL VHDL. To the best of our knowledge, we report the first lightweight implementation of LowMC and the first implementation protected against side-channel analysis (SCA). For the SCA protection, we used a hybrid 2/3 shares Threshold Implementation (TI) approach, and for the evaluation, the Test Vector Leakage Assessment (TVLA) method, also known as the T-test. Our unprotected implementations show information leakage at 10K traces, and after protection, they could successfully pass the T-test for 1 million traces. The Xilinx Vivado is used for the synthesis, implementation, functional verification, timing analysis, and programming of the FPGA. The target FPGA family is Artix-7, selected due to its widespread use in multiple applications. Based on our results, the numbers of LUTs are 867 and 3,328 for the lightweight and the unrolled architecture with unrolling factor U = 16, respectively. It takes 14.21more »μs for the lightweight architecture and 1.29 μs for the unrolled design with U = 16 to generate one 128-bit block of the ciphertext. The fully unrolled architecture beats the best previous implementation by Kales et al. in terms of the number of LUTs by a factor of 4.5. However, this advantage comes at the cost of having 2.9 higher latency.« less
  5. Lightweight implementations of cryptographic algorithms must be evaluated in terms of security, cost, and performance before their deployment in practical applications. The availability of open-source platforms for such evaluation saves researchers' time and increases reproducibility of results. In this work, we improve upon the previous version of the Flexible Opensource workBench fOr Side-channel analysis (FO-BOS) to introduce “FOBOS2,” and utilize it to perform such evaluation tasks for hardware implementations of authenticated ciphers, with special focus on candidates submitted to the NIST Lightweight Cryptography standardization process. We perform power measurements on Artix7 FPGA, and countermeasure evaluation of lightweight hardware implementations of selected NIST Lightweight Cryptography Round-2 candidates and the current NIST standard AES-GCM on the Spartan6 and Artix7 FPGAs. Our results show that Ascon consumes the least power at 50 MHz, and has the lowest change in dynamic power per increase in frequency, while GIFT-COFB consumes the least energy-per-bit. We also show that side-channel countermeasures applied to implementations of Ascon and AES-GCM are effective using leakage detection tests.
  6. Authenticated ciphers potentially provide resource savings and security improvements over the joint use of secret-key ciphers and message authentication codes. The CAESAR competition aims to choose the most suitable authenticated ciphers for several categories of applications, including a lightweight use case, for which the primary criteria are performance in resource constrained devices, and ease of protection against side channel attacks (SCA). Recently, two of the candidates from this category, ACORN and Ascon, were selected as CAESAR contest finalists. In this research, we compare two SCA-resistant FPGA implementations of ACORN and Ascon, where one set of implementations has area consumption nearly equivalent to the defacto standard AES-GCM, and the other set has throughput (TP) close to that of AES-GCM. The results show that protected implementations of ACORN and Ascon, with area consumption less than but close to AES-GCM, have 23.3 and 2.5 times, respectively, the TP of AES-GCM. Likewise, implementations of ACORN and Ascon with TP greater than but close to AES-GCM, consume 18% and 74% of the area, respectively, of AES-GCM.
  7. Authenticated ciphers, which combine the cryptographic services of confidentiality, integrity, and authentication into one algorithmic construct, can potentially provide improved security and efficiencies in the processing of sensitive data. However, they are vulnerable to side-channel attacks such as differential power analysis (DPA). Although the Test Vector Leakage Assessment (TVLA) methodology has been used to confirm improved resistance of block ciphers to DPA after application of countermeasures, extension of TVLA to authenticated ciphers is non-trivial, since authenticated ciphers have expanded input and output requirements, complex interfaces, and long test vectors which include protocol necessary to describe authenticated cipher operations. In this research, we upgrade the FOBOS test architecture with capability to perform TVLA on authenticated ciphers. We show that FPGA implementations of the CAESAR Round 3 candidates ACORN, Ascon, CLOC (with AES and TWINE primitives), SILC (with AES, PRESENT, and LED primitives), JAMBU (with AES and SIMON primitives), and Ketje Jr.; as well as AES-GCM, are vulnerable to 1st order DPA. We then use threshold implementations to protect the above cipher implementations against 1st order DPA, and verify the effectiveness of countermeasures using the TVLA methodology. Finally, we compare the unprotected and protected cipher implementations in terms of area, performance (maximummore »frequency and throughput), throughput-to-area (TP/A) ratio, power, and energy per bit (E/bit). Our results show that ACORN consumes the lowest number of resources, has the highest TP/A ratio, and is the most energy-efficient of all DPA-resistant implementations. However, Ketje Jr. has the highest throughput.« less
  8. Authenticated ciphers offer potential benefits to resource-constrained devices in the Internet of Things (IoT). The CAESAR competition seeks optimal authenticated ciphers based on several criteria, including performance in resource-constrained (i.e., low-area, low-power, and low-energy) hardware. Although the competition specified a "lightweight" use case for Round 3, most hardware submissions to Round 3 were not lightweight implementations, in that they employed architectures optimized for best throughput-to-area (TP/A) ratio, and used the Pre- and PostProcessor modules from the CAESAR Hardware (HW) Development Package designed for high-speed applications. In this research, we provide true lightweight implementations of selected ciphers (ACORN, NORX, CLOC- AES, SILC-AES, and SILC-LED). These implementations use an improved version of the CAESAR HW Development Package designed for lightweight applications, and are fully compliant with the CAESAR HW Application Programming Interface for Authenticated Ciphers. Our lightweight implementations achieve an average of 55% reduction in area and 40% reduction in power compared to their corresponding high-speed versions. Although the average energy per bit of lightweight ciphers increases by a factor of 3.6, the lightweight version of NORX actually uses 47% less energy per bit than its corresponding high-speed implementation.
  9. Authenticated ciphers are vulnerable to side-channel attacks, including differential power analysis (DPA). Test Vector Leakage Assessment (TVLA) using Welch's t-test has been used to verify improved resistance of block ciphers to DPA after application of countermeasures. However, extension of this methodology to authenticated ciphers is non-trivial, since this requires additional input and output conditions, complex interfaces, and long test vectors interlaced with protocol necessary to describe authenticated cipher operations. In this research we augment an existing side-channel analysis architecture (FOBOS) with TVLA for authenticated ciphers. We use this capability to show that implementations in the Spartan-6 FPGA of the CAESAR Round 3 candidates ACORN, ASCON, CLOC (AES and TWINE), SILC (AES, PRESENT, and LED), JAMBU (AES and SIMON), and Ketje Jr., as well as AES-GCM, are potentially vulnerable to 1st order DPA. We then implement versions of the above ciphers, protected against 1st order DPA, using threshold implementations. TVLA is used to verify improved resistance to 1st order DPA of the protected cipher implementations. Finally, we benchmark unprotected and protected cipher implementations in the Spartan-6 FPGA, and compare the costs of 1st order DPA protection in terms of area, frequency, throughput, throughput-to-area (TP/A) ratio, power, and energy per bit. Ourmore »results show that ACORN is the most energy efficient, has the lowest area (in LUTs), and has the highest TP/A ratio of DPA-resistant implementations. However, Ketje Jr. has the highest throughput.« less