Faculté des sciences et techniques de l'ingénieur STI, Section d'électricité, Institut de traitement des signaux ITS (Laboratoire de traitement des signaux 3 LTS3)

High performance VLSI architectures implementing strong cryptographic primitives

Cherigui, Feth Allah ; Mlynek, Daniel (Dir.)

Thèse sciences techniques Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL : 2002 ; no 2561.

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    The main topic of this thesis is related to the state of the art in designing cryptographic primitives from a hardware point of view. A special emphasis is dedicated to low-power/low-energy CMOS design. A set of solutions is proposed including an LFSR based stream cipher with self-synchronizing capabilities, a new memory-less Rijndael block cipher architecture and a public key scheme in the class of discrete logarithm. The former is based on arithmetic in large finite field, mainly Galois extension field GF(2‴). These solutions are droved using low-energy techniques, in order to decrease both the switching activity and the total delay. The fundamental motivation supporting this work, is to demonstrate that practical solutions can be obtained for implementing such complex primitives in large scaled circuits, that arc at once, high performance architectures (low-power, high-speed) and cryptographicaly strong, using the well known trade-off between area-speed or area-power. Security constraint has been duly considered, mainly by increasing the key-size. In this work, we explore the general aspects of designing the above mentioned cryptographic functions. We give an extensive survey of some cryptographic primitives from the hardware point of view and expose their security properties. The thesis favours stream cipher and public-key schemes, as currently the most promising advance to capture the notion of key generation and establishment and data bulk encryption. One contribution is the convenient notation for expressing cryptographic self-synchronizing stream ciphers SSSC schemes and our SSMG proposal, a scheme based on packet fingerprint identification, that relies on keyed cryptographic hash function to achieve the security requirements. We maintain an important distinction between hardware implementation and algorithm's security, because the security of cryptographic primitives cannot be based on mathematically strong functions only but requires an extensive cryptanalysis at different levels including the application. This causes a concern for a formalization of the security of an implemented cryptographic primitive. Nevertheless, while some schemes arc well known to be secure such as DL based public key schemes and enough cryptanalyzed such as the new standard Rijndael, some security aspects of the SSMG are discussed. A part of this work studies the specific aspects related to hardware implementation of Rijndael block cipher, the new standard designed to be a substitute for DES. An efficient architecture is developed targeting FPGA implementation, by simply avoiding memory blocks dedicated to the implementation of S-boxes and replacing them by on-chip forward computation using composite Galois field. This technique helps to reduce considerably the amount of hardware required at the cost of little increase of the switching activity. The main conclusion is that, while security constraint of cryptographic primitives increases the hardware complexity and reduces the performances, practical solutions exist for reducing such complexities while keeping or increasing the level of security. Nevertheless, major open questions remain both for a firm theoretical foundation and the proper cryptanalysis of certain solutions.