Title: Public key cryptography empowered smart dust is affordable

Authors: Steffen Peter, Peter Langendorfer, Krzysztof Piotrowski

Addresses: IHP GmbH, Frankfurt/Oder, Germany. ' IHP GmbH, Frankfurt/Oder, Germany. ' IHP GmbH, Frankfurt/Oder, Germany

Abstract: Public Key Cryptography (PKC), although very beneficial for key distribution, authentication and other related issues, was for a long time considered as too expensive for small, battery-powered and resource-constrained devices. In the recent years, first research groups started to cope with the challenges applying PKC in such environments. One of the results is that Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) fits here perfectly, providing the level of security RSA does, but with much shorter keys. In this paper, we evaluate the power consumption induced by various PKC approaches including calculation and transmission costs. Our results clearly show that hardware accelerators significantly reduce the energy consumption and prolong lifetime of sensor nodes. Our solution for 163 bit ECC needs only 1.02 mm² cell area in a 0.25 µm technology and only 12.8 µWs per point multiplication. Due to its small size it can be manufactured for about 0.05 USD in mass production.

Keywords: wireless sensor networks; WSNs; public key cryptography; PKC; elliptic curve cryptography; ECC; energy consumption; hardware accelerator; smart dust; security.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSNET.2008.019258

International Journal of Sensor Networks, 2008 Vol.4 No.1/2, pp.130 - 143

Published online: 04 Jul 2008 *

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