Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2020/218

Design Space Exploration for Ultra-Low Energy and Secure IoT MCUs

Ehsan Aerabi and Milad Bohlouli and MohammadHasan Ahmadi Livany and Mahdi Fazeli and Athanasios Papadimitriou and David Hely

Abstract: This paper explores the design space of secure communication in ultra-low-energy IoT devices based on Micro-Controller Units (MCUs). It tries to identify, evaluate and compare security-related design choices in a Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) embedded IoT system which contribute in the energy consumption. We conduct a study over a large group of software-implemented crypto algorithms: symmetric, stream, hash, AEAD, MAC, digital signature and key exchange. A comprehensive report of the targeted optimization attributes (memory, performance and specifically energy) will be presented from over 450 experiments and 170 different crypto source codes. The paper also briefly explores a few system-related choices which can affect the energy consumption of secure communication, namely: architecture choice, communication bandwidth, signal strength and processor frequency. In the end, the paper gives an overview on the obtained results and the contribution of all. Finally it shows, in a case study, how the results could be utilized to have a secure communication in an exemplary IoT device. This paper gives IoT designers an insight on the ultra-low-energy security, helps them to choose appropriate cryptographic algorithms, reduce trial-and-error of alternatives, save effort and hence cut the design costs.

Category / Keywords: applications / Ciphers, Cyber-physical systems, Cryptography, Embedded software, Energy consumption

Original Publication (with minor differences): Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems

Date: received 19 Feb 2020, last revised 17 Mar 2020

Contact author: ehsan aerabi at lcis grenoble-inp fr

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20200318:051635 (All versions of this report)

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