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Publication# A Deeper Look at the Energy Consumption of Lightweight Block Ciphers

Andrea Felice Caforio, Subhadeep Banik, Francesco Regazzoni, Muhammed Fatih Balli

2021

Conference paper

2021

Conference paper

Abstract

In the last few years, the field of lightweight cryptography has seen an influx in the number of block ciphers and hash functions being proposed. In the past there have been numerous papers that have looked at circuit level implementation of block ciphers with respect to lightweight metrics like area power and energy. In the paper by Banik et al. (SAC‘15), for example, by studying the energy consumption model of a CMOS gate, it was shown that the energy consumed per cycle during the encryption operation of an r-round unrolled architecture of any block cipher is a quadratic function in r. However, most of these explorative works were at a gate level, in which a circuit synthesizer would construct a circuit using gates from a standard cell library, and the area power and energy would be estimated by estimating the switching statistics of the nodes in the circuit. Since only a part of the EDA design flow was done, it did not account for issues that might arise when the circuit is finally mapped into silicon post route. Metrics like area, power and energy would need to be re-estimated due to the effect of the parasitics introduced in the circuit by the connecting wires, nodes and interconnects. In this paper, we look to plug this very gap in literature by re-examining the designs of lightweight block ciphers with respect to their performances after completing the placement and routing process. This is a timely exercise to do since three of the block ciphers we analyze in the paper are used in around 13 of the 32 candidates in the second round of the NIST lightweight competition being conducted currently.

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Block cipher

In cryptography, a block cipher is a deterministic algorithm that operates on fixed-length groups of bits, called blocks. Block ciphers are the elementary building blocks of many cryptographic protocols. They are ubiquitous in the storage and exchange of data, where such data is secured and authenticated via encryption. A block cipher uses blocks as an unvarying transformation. Even a secure block cipher is suitable for the encryption of only a single block of data at a time, using a fixed key.

Cryptography

Cryptography, or cryptology (from κρυπτός "hidden, secret"; and γράφειν graphein, "to write", or -λογία -logia, "study", respectively), is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of adversarial behavior. More generally, cryptography is about constructing and analyzing protocols that prevent third parties or the public from reading private messages. Modern cryptography exists at the intersection of the disciplines of mathematics, computer science, information security, electrical engineering, digital signal processing, physics, and others.

Area

Area is the measure of a region's size on a surface. The area of a plane region or plane area refers to the area of a shape or planar lamina, while surface area refers to the area of an open surface or the boundary of a three-dimensional object. Area can be understood as the amount of material with a given thickness that would be necessary to fashion a model of the shape, or the amount of paint necessary to cover the surface with a single coat.