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Workload Characterization of a Lightweight SSL Implementation Resistant to Side-Channel Attacks

Manuel Koschuch, Johann Gro??sch??dl, Udo Payer, Matthias Hudler, Michael Kr??ger, Workload Characterization of a Lightweight SSL Implementation Resistant to Side-Channel Attacks. Cryptology and Network Security --- CANS 2008, pp. 349–365. December 2008. PDF, 243 Kbytes.

Abstract

Ever-growing mobility and ubiquitous wireless Internet access raise the need for secure communication with devices that may be severely constrained in terms of processing power, memory capacity and network speed. In this paper we describe a lightweight implementation of the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol with a focus on small code size and low memory usage. We integrated a generic public-key crypto library into this SSL stack to support elliptic curve cryptography over arbitrary prime and binary fields. Furthermore, we aimed to secure the SSL handshake against side-channel attacks (in particular simple power analysis) by eliminating all data-dependent or key-dependent branches and memory accesses from the arithmetic operations and compare the resulting performance with an unprotected implementation. Our lightweight SSL stack has only 6\% of the code size and RAM requirements of OpenSSL, but outperforms it in point multiplication over prime fields when no appropriate countermeasures against side-channel attacks are implemented. With such countermeasures, however, the execution time of a typical SSL handshake increases by roughly 50\%, but still completes in less than 160 msec on a 200 MHz iPAQ PDA when using an elliptic curve over a 192-bit prime field.

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