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Sensors (Basel). 2013 Jul 29;13(8):9704-28. doi: 10.3390/s130809704.

Extending the IEEE 802.15.4 security suite with a compact implementation of the NIST P-192/B-163 elliptic curves.

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Department of Electronics and Informatics (ETRO), Faculty of Engineering Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels 1050, Belgium.


Typically, commercial sensor nodes are equipped with MCUsclocked at a low-frequency (i.e., within the 4-12 MHz range). Consequently, executing cryptographic algorithms in those MCUs generally requires a huge amount of time. In this respect, the required energy consumption can be higher than using a separate accelerator based on a Field-programmable Gate Array (FPGA) that is switched on when needed. In this manuscript, we present the design of a cryptographic accelerator suitable for an FPGA-based sensor node and compliant with the IEEE802.15.4 standard. All the embedded resources of the target platform (Xilinx Artix-7) have been maximized in order to provide a cost-effective solution. Moreover, we have added key negotiation capabilities to the IEEE 802.15.4 security suite based on Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC). Our results suggest that tailored accelerators based on FPGA can behave better in terms of energy than contemporary software solutions for motes, such as the TinyECC and NanoECC libraries. In this regard, a point multiplication (PM) can be performed between 8.58- and 15.4-times faster, 3.40- to 23.59-times faster (Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman, ECDH) and between 5.45- and 34.26-times faster (Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme, ECIES). Moreover, the energy consumption was also improved with a factor of 8.96 (PM).

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