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Crypto-processor – architecture, programming and evaluation of the security

Abstract : Architectures of cryptographic processors and coprocessors are often vulnerable to different kinds of attacks, especially those targeting the disclosure of encryption keys. It is well known that manipulating confidential keys by the processor as ordinary data can represent a threat: a change in the program code (malicious or unintentional) can cause the unencrypted confidential key to leave the security area. This way, the security of the whole system would be irrecoverably compromised. The aim of our work was to search for flexible and reconfigurable hardware architectures, which can provide high security of confidential keys during their generation, storage and exchange while implementing common symmetric key cryptographic modes and protocols. In the first part of the manuscript, we introduce the bases of applied cryptography and of reconfigurable computing that are necessary for better understanding of the work. Second, we present threats to security of confidential keys when stored and processed within an embedded system. To counteract these threats, novel design rules increasing robustness of cryptographic processors and coprocessors against software attacks are presented. The rules suggest separating registers dedicated to key storage from those dedicated to data storage: we propose to partition the system into the data, cipher and key zone and to isolate the zones from each other at protocol, system, architectural and physical levels. Next, we present a novel HCrypt crypto-processor complying with the separation rules and thus ensuring secure key management. Besides instructions dedicated to secure key management, some additional instructions are dedicated to easy realization of block cipher modes and cryptographic protocols in general. In the next part of the manuscript, we show that the proposed separation principles can be extended also to a processor-coprocessor architecture. We propose a secure crypto-coprocessor, which can be used in conjunction with any general-purpose processor. To demonstrate its flexibility, the crypto-coprocessor is interconnected with the NIOS II, MicroBlaze and Cortex M1 soft-core processors. In the following part of the work, we examine the resistance of the HCrypt cryptoprocessor to differential power analysis (DPA) attacks. Following this analysis, we modify the architecture of the HCrypt processor in order to simplify its protection against side channel attacks (SCA) and fault injection attacks (FIA). We show that by rearranging blocks of the HCrypt processor at macroarchitecture level, the new HCrypt2 processor becomes natively more robust to DPA and FIA. Next, we study possibilities of dynamically reconfiguring selected parts of the processor - crypto-coprocessor architecture. The dynamic reconfiguration feature can be very useful when the cipher algorithm or its implementation must be changed in response to appearance of some vulnerability. Finally, the last part of the manuscript is dedicated to thorough testing and optimizations of both versions of the HCrypt crypto-processor. Architectures of crypto-processors and crypto-coprocessors are often vulnerable to software attacks targeting the disclosure of encryption keys. The thesis introduces separation rules enabling crypto-processor/coprocessors to support secure key management. Separation rules are implemented on novel HCrypt crypto-processor resistant to software attacks targetting the disclosure of encryption keys
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Submitted on : Monday, April 14, 2014 - 11:45:39 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00978472, version 1



Lubos Gaspar. Crypto-processor – architecture, programming and evaluation of the security. Other [cond-mat.other]. Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012STET4023⟩. ⟨tel-00978472⟩



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