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Hardware Implementations of Scalable and Unified Elliptic Curve Cryptosystem Processors

Date

2015-03-04

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Type

Thesis

Degree Level

Doctoral

Abstract

As the amount of information exchanged through the network grows, so does the demand for increased security over the transmission of this information. As the growth of computers increased in the past few decades, more sophisticated methods of cryptography have been developed. One method of transmitting data securely over the network is by using symmetric-key cryptography. However, a drawback of symmetric-key cryptography is the need to exchange the shared key securely. One of the solutions is to use public-key cryptography. One of the modern public-key cryptography algorithms is called Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC). The advantage of ECC over some older algorithms is the smaller number of key sizes to provide a similar level of security. As a result, implementations of ECC are much faster and consume fewer resources. In order to achieve better performance, ECC operations are often offloaded onto hardware to alleviate the workload from the servers' processors. The most important and complex operation in ECC schemes is the elliptic curve point multiplication (ECPM). This thesis explores the implementation of hardware accelerators that offload the ECPM operation to hardware. These processors are referred to as ECC processors, or simply ECPs. This thesis targets the efficient hardware implementation of ECPs specifically for the 15 elliptic curves recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The main contribution of this thesis is the implementation of highly efficient hardware for scalable and unified finite field arithmetic units that are used in the design of ECPs. In this thesis, scalability refers to the processor's ability to support multiple key sizes without the need to reconfigure the hardware. By doing so, the hardware does not need to be redesigned for the server to handle different levels of security. Unified refers to the ability of the ECP to handle both prime and binary fields. The resultant designs are valuable to the research community and industry, as a single hardware device is able to handle a wide range of ECC operations efficiently and at high speeds. Thus, improving the ability of network servers to handle secure transaction more quickly and improve productivity at lower costs.

Description

Keywords

elliptic curve cryptography(ECC), finite field arithmetic, field programmable gate array (FPGA), hardware architecture, security, computer arithmetic, parallelization

Citation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Program

Electrical Engineering

Advisor

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