Source: in Proceedings of the Application-specific Systems, Architectures and Processors conference, ASAP (2010)
Many applications require protection of secret or sensitive information, from sensor nodes and embedded applications to large distributed systems. The confidentiality of data can be protected by encryption using symmetric-key ciphers, and the integrity of the data can be ensured by using a cryptographic hash function to calculate a ”digital fingerprint.” In this paper, we propose reconfigurable FPGA hardware components that enable rapid deployment of cryptographic and other algorithms. The novelty of our hardware components is in their general-purpose design which enables easy mappings to allow customizations of data protection for different usage scenarios. Since we utilize only a small part of an FPGA chip, our design can be readily integrated with other processing needs of a mobile device, a sensor node or a System-on-Chip. In addition to being able to implement established algorithms, our analysis shows that the new hash algorithms proposed for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) competition for Advanced Hash Algorithms (AHS) also map well onto our general-purpose components. Our solution facilitates easy hardware implementation of customizable encryption and hashing solutions, with area and speed performance comparable to custom FPGA implementations targeted at a specific cipher or hash algorithm. Furthermore, the components that we have proposed can be used for many other applications - not just for implementing block ciphers and cryptographic hash functions.