Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2013/439

Pushing the Limits of SHA-3 Hardware Implementations to Fit on RFID

Peter Pessl and Michael Hutter

Abstract: There exists a broad range of RFID protocols in literature that propose hash functions as cryptographic primitives. Since Keccak has been selected as the winner of the NIST SHA-3 competition in 2012, there is the question of how far we can push the limits of Keccak to fulfill the stringent requirements of passive low-cost RFID. In this paper, we address this question by presenting a hardware implementation of Keccak that aims for lowest power and lowest area. Our smallest (full-state) design requires only 2\,927 GEs (for designs with external memory available) and 5\,522 GEs (total size including memory). It has a power consumption of $12.5\,\mu$W at 1\,MHz on a low leakage 130\,nm CMOS process technology. As a result, we provide a design that needs 40\,\% less resources than related work. Our design is even smaller than the smallest SHA-1 and SHA-2 implementations.

Category / Keywords: implementation / Hardware Implementation, SHA-3, Keccak, ASIC, RFID, Low-Power Design, Embedded Systems.

Publication Info: To appear at CHES 2013

Date: received 12 Jul 2013

Contact author: michael hutter at iaik tugraz at

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Version: 20130718:185238 (All versions of this report)

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