Cryptography on FPGAs: State of the Art Implementations and Attacks

Thomas Wollinger, Jorge Guajardo Merchan, Chris­tof Paar

to appear in the special issue on Embedded Systems and Security of the ACM Transactions in Embedded Computing Systems (TECS), March, 2003.


In the last decade, it has become aparent that embedded systems are integral parts of our every day lives. The wireless nature of many embedded applications as well as their omnipresence has made the need for security and privacy preserving mechanisms particularly important. Thus, as FPGAs become integral parts of embedded systems, it is imperative to consider their security as a whole. This contribution provides a state-of-the-art description of security issues on FPGAs, both from the system and implementation perspectives. We discuss the advantages of recon¯g- urable hardware for cryptographic applications, show potential security problems of FPGAs, and provide a list of open research problems. Moreover, we summarize both public and symmetric-key algorithm implementations on FPGAs.

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tags: FPGA