Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2021/781

Quantum-Resistant Security for Software Updates on Low-power Networked Embedded Devices

Gustavo Banegas and Koen Zandberg and Adrian Herrmann and Emmanuel Baccelli and Benjamin Smith

Abstract: As the Internet of Things (IoT) rolls out today to devices whose lifetime may well exceed a decade, conservative threat models should consider attackers with access to quantum computing power. The SUIT standard (specified by the IETF) defines a security architecture for IoT software updates, standardizing the metadata and the cryptographic tools---namely, digital signatures and hash functions---that guarantee the legitimacy of software updates. While the performance of SUIT has previously been evaluated in the pre-quantum context, it has not yet been studied in a post-quantum context. Taking the open-source implementation of SUIT available in RIOT as a case study, we overview post-quantum considerations, and quantum-resistant digital signatures in particular, focusing on low-power, microcontroller-based IoT devices which have stringent resource constraints in terms of memory, CPU, and energy consumption. We benchmark a selection of proposed post-quantum signature schemes (LMS, Falcon, and Dilithium) and compare them with current pre-quantum signature schemes (Ed25519 and ECDSA). Our benchmarks are carried out on a variety of IoT hardware including ARM Cortex-M, RISC-V, and Espressif (ESP32), which form the bulk of modern 32-bit microcontroller architectures. We interpret our benchmark results in the context of SUIT, and estimate the real-world impact of post-quantum alternatives for a range of typical software update categories.

Category / Keywords: applications / Post-quantum, Security, IoT, Microcontroller, Embedded systems

Date: received 9 Jun 2021, last revised 10 Nov 2021

Contact author: gustavo at cryptme in, koen zandberg at inria fr, adrian herrmann at fu-berlin de, emmanuel baccelli at inria fr, smith at lix polytechnique fr

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20211110:183651 (All versions of this report)

Short URL:

[ Cryptology ePrint archive ]