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Securing the World's Cyber Infrastructure

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CSIS Seminar

Secure Hardware Implementations of Lightweight and Post-Quantum Cryptography; Trade-offs, Applicability, and Tools

Speaker:   Abubakr Abdulgadir, The Volgenau School of Engineering, George Mason University
When:   May 28, 2021, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Where:   Zoom


Lightweight authenticated ciphers are crucial in many resource-constrained applications, including online payment, edge computing, and the Internet of Things. However, the current standard AES-GCM is not adequate for many applications. Recent developments in Post-Quantum computing increased the urgency of deploying Post-Quantum cryptographic standards that withstand quantum and classic attacks. As a response to these needs, the US National Institute of Standards (NIST) coordinates two standardization processes to evaluate and ratify suitable algorithms. Although resistance to mathematical cryptanalysis is paramount, cost, performance, and resistance to side-channel attacks are among the most critical selection criteria. In this research, we study the effect of applying side-channel countermeasures to the NIST LWC candidates Xoodyak and TinyJAMBU and the NIST PQC candidate Saber with a concentration on hardware implementations. Specifically, we employ the Domain-Oriented masking countermeasure to produce two first-order protected implementations of Xoodyak. For TinyJAMBU, we present a flexible implementation that is synthesizable for arbitrary order of protection. For Saber, we first develop a lightweight design and then apply countermeasures to algorithm building blocks. In parallel, we developed the tools necessary for this research to improve on the existing FOBOS platform. We significantly improved the efficiency and flexibility of the system while using affordable hardware components. Our upgrades resulted in an efficient system capable of performing leakage assessment and attacks on FPGA cryptographic implementations. We also improved the usability of the system to address research and education needs. Our work aims at establishing methodologies and providing tools to develop and evaluate cryptographic candidates. Also, our results provide a more realistic look at the practical cost and performance of the algorithms studied. Zoom Meeting Link: https://gmu.zoom.us/j/96947328909 (CORRECTED START TIME)

Speaker Bio

Abubakr Abdulgadir is a doctoral candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He holds a BS degree and an MS degree from University of Gezira.