Paper 2003/119

How Secure Are FPGAs in Cryptographic Applications?

Thomas Wollinger and Christof Paar


The use of FPGAs for cryptographic applications is highly attractive for a variety of reasons but at the same time there are many open issues related to the general security of FPGAs. This contribution attempts to provide a state-of-the-art description of this topic. First, the advantages of reconfigurable hardware for cryptographic applications are discussed from a systems perspective. Second, potential security problems of FPGAs are described in detail, followed by a proposal of a some countermeasure. Third, a list of open research problems is provided. Even though there have been many contributions dealing with the algorithmic aspects of cryptographic schemes implemented on FPGAs, this contribution appears to be the first comprehensive treatment of system and security aspects.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Published elsewhere. FPL 2003, 1.-3- September 2003, Lisbon, Portugal
cryptographyFPGAsecurityattacksreconfigurable hardwarephysical
Contact author(s)
wollinger @ crypto rub de
2003-06-06: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Thomas Wollinger and Christof Paar},
      title = {How Secure Are FPGAs in Cryptographic Applications?},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2003/119},
      year = {2003},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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