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Code-based Cryptography in IoT: A HW/SW Co-Design of HQC

by   Maximilian Schöffel, et al.

Recent advances in quantum computing pose a serious threat on the security of widely used public-key cryptosystems. Thus, new post-quantum cryptographic algorithms have been proposed as part of the associated US NIST process to enable secure, encrypted communication in the age of quantum computing. Many hardware accelerators for structured lattice-based algorithms have already been published to meet the strict power, area and latency requirements of low-power IoT edge devices. However, the security of these algorithms is still uncertain. Currently, many new attacks against the lattice structure are investigated to judge on their security. In contrast, code-based algorithms, which rely on deeply explored security metrics and are appealing candidates in the NIST process, have not yet been investigated to the same depth in the context of IoT due to the computational complexity and memory footprint of state-of-the-art software implementations. In this paper, we present to the best of our knowledge the first HW/SW co-design based implementation of the code-based Hamming Quasi Cyclic Key-Encapsulation Mechanism. We profile and evaluate this algorithm in order to explore the trade-off between software optimizations, tightly coupled hardware acceleration by instruction set extension and modular, loosely coupled accelerators. We provide detailed results on the energy consumption and performance of our design and compare it to existing implementations of lattice- and code-based algorithms. The design was implemented in two technologies: FPGA and ASIC. Our results show that code-based algorithms are valid alternatives in low-power IoT from an implementation perspective.


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