Paper 2018/573

Improved Lightweight Implementations of CAESAR Authenticated Ciphers

Farnoud Farahmand, William Diehl, Abubakr Abdulgadir, Jens-Peter Kaps, and Kris Gaj


Authenticated ciphers offer potential benefits to resource-constrained devices in the Internet of Things (IoT). The CAESAR competition seeks optimal authenticated ciphers based on several criteria, including performance in resource-constrained (i.e., low-area, low-power, and low-energy) hardware. Although the competition specified a ”lightweight” use case for Round 3, most hardware submissions to Round 3 were not lightweight implementations, in that they employed architectures optimized for best throughput-to-area (TP/A) ratio, and used the Pre- and PostProcessor modules from the CAE-SAR Hardware (HW) Development Package designed for high-speed applications. In this research, we provide true lightweight implementations of selected ciphers (ACORN, NORX, CLOC-AES, SILC-AES, and SILC-LED). These implementations use an improved version of the CAESAR HW DevelopmentPackage designed for lightweight applications, and are fully compliant with the CAESAR HW Application programming interface for Authenticated Ciphers. Our lightweight implementations achieve an average of 55% reduction in area and40% reduction in power compared to their corresponding high-speed versions. Although the average energy per bit of lightweight ciphers increases by a factor of 3.6, the lightweight version of NORX actually uses 47% less energy per bit than its corresponding high-speed implementation.

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Publication info
Published elsewhere. MINOR revision.Proceedings of the 26th IEEE International Symposium on Field-Programmable Custom ComputingMachines (FCCM), 2018
ReconfigurableFPGALightweightPowerEnergyAuthenticated CipherCAESARFOBOS
Contact author(s)
ffarahma @ gmu edu
2018-06-05: revised
2018-06-05: received
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      author = {Farnoud Farahmand and William Diehl and Abubakr Abdulgadir and Jens-Peter Kaps and Kris Gaj},
      title = {Improved Lightweight Implementations of CAESAR Authenticated Ciphers},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2018/573},
      year = {2018},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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