Paper 2015/691

SpecTre: A Tiny Side-Channel Resistant Speck Core for FPGAs

Cong Chen, Mehmet Sinan Inci, Mostafa Taha, and Thomas Eisenbarth


Emerging applications such as the Internet of Things require security solutions that are small and low cost, yet feature solid protection against a wide range of sophisticated attacks. Lightweight cryptographic schemes such as the Speck cipher that was recently proposed by the NSA aim to solve some of these challenges. However, before using Speck in any practical application, sound protection against side-channel attacks must be in place. In this work, we propose a bit-serialized implementation of Speck, to achieve minimal area footprint. We further propose a Speck core that is provably secure against first-order side-channel attacks using a threshold implementation technique which depends on secure multiparty computation. The resulting design is a tiny crypto core that provides AES-like security in under 45 slices on a low-cost Xilinx Spartan 3 FPGA. The first-order side-channel resistant version of the same core needs less than 100 slices. The security of the protected core is validated by state-of-the-art side-channel leakage detection tests.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Lightweight CryptographySpeckbit-serializedthreshold implementation
Contact author(s)
teisenbarth @ wpi edu
2015-07-13: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Cong Chen and Mehmet Sinan Inci and Mostafa Taha and Thomas Eisenbarth},
      title = {{SpecTre}: A Tiny Side-Channel Resistant Speck Core for {FPGAs}},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2015/691},
      year = {2015},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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