Paper 2021/058

A Performance Study of Crypto-Hardware in the Low-end IoT

Peter Kietzmann, Lena Boeckmann, Leandro Lanzieri, Thomas C. Schmidt, and Matthias Wählisch


In this paper, we contribute a comprehensive resource analysis for widely used cryptographic primitives across different off-the-shelf IoT platforms, and quantify the performance impact of crypto-hardware. This work builds on the newly designed crypto-subsystem of the IoT operating system RIOT, which provides seamless crypto support across software and hardware components. Our evaluations show that (i) hardware-based crypto outperforms software by considerably over 100 %, which is crucial for nodal lifetime. Despite, the memory consumption typically increases moderately. (ii) Hardware diversity, driver design, and software implementations heavily impact resource efficiency. (iii) External crypto-chips operate slowly on symmetric crypto-operations, but provide secure write-only memory for private credentials, which is unavailable on many platforms.

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Publication info
Published elsewhere. EWSN'21: Proceedings of the 2021 International Conference on Embedded Wireless Systems and Networks
Internet of ThingsEmbedded Security
Contact author(s)
peter kietzmann @ haw-hamburg de
2021-02-13: revised
2021-01-18: received
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      author = {Peter Kietzmann and Lena Boeckmann and Leandro Lanzieri and Thomas C.  Schmidt and Matthias Wählisch},
      title = {A Performance Study of Crypto-Hardware in the Low-end IoT},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/058},
      year = {2021},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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