Cryptography for Ultra-Low Power Devices
Motivation and Background
Ubiquitous computing describes the notion that computing devices will be everywhere: clothing, walls and floors of buildings, cars, the desert etc. Ubiquitous computing is becoming reality: RFIDs are currently being introduced into the supply chain. Wireless distributed sensor networks are already being used to monitor wildlife and to track military targets. Many more applications are being envisioned. For most of these applications some level of security is of utmost importance.
Providing security for ubiquitous computing provides special challenges. Common to all applications above is that the computing devices is that their power resources are severely limited. These are ultra-low power devices. The table below gives an overview of what ultra-low power means.
|Application||Power Source||Power Range|
|Desktop Computer||Power Grid||150 W||-||500 W|
|Laptops||High Capacity Battery||10 W||-||120 W|
|Palm size devices, Cell Phones,
|Battery||100 mW||-||10 W|
|Wireless Sensors||Tiny Batteries||1 mW||-||100 mW|
|Smart Dust, RFID||Energy Scavenging||1 μW||-||500 μW|
Current wireless sensor nodes are powered by tiny batteries. We are already seeing a trend to use energy scavengers to power sensor nodes. Scavengers convert ambient heat, noise, vibration, or light to electrical power. Sensor nodes that are powered solely by scavengers are called self-powered. The fact, that the sensor node communicates wirelessly and has no battery makes them autonomous. This opens up a whole new range of applications. The nodes can be placed in locations that are later entirely inaccessible.
Many research groups are working on developing wireless sensor nodes, RFIDs, etc. The links section below lists a few of the major groups. A handful of research groups are trying to tackle the security challenges. However, the common perception in the wireless sensor node and in the RFID communities is, that public key cryptography is not possible on these tiny devices. We set out to challenge this assumption. Our goal is to develop a suite of cryptographic functions for authentication, encryption, and integrity that is specifically tailored to the needs ultra-low power devices. This includes public key cryptography and secure hash functions. For this we are examining existing cryptographic algorithms and either find energy efficient ways to implement them, improve them, or we develop new algorithms.
These are our publications about Cryptography for Ultra-Low Power Devices. For a complete list of the publications from the CRIS lab have a look at our publications page.
- J.-P. Kaps and B. Sunar. "Energy comparison of AES and SHA-1 for ubiquitous computing", Embedded and Ubiquitous Computing (EUC-06) Workshop Proceedings. In Xiaobo Zhou et al. (Eds.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS), Springer, 2006, to appear. (expanded version, PDF)
- J.-P. Kaps, G. Gaubatz, and B. Sunar, "Cryptography on a Speck of Dust", to appear in IEEE Computer Magazine.
- J.-P. Kaps, "Cryptography for Ultra-Low Power Devices", PhD Dissertation, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, May 2006. (PDF)
- J.-P. Kaps, K. Yüksel, B. Sunar, "Energy Scalable Universal Hashing", IEEE Transactions on Computers, volume 54, number 12, pages 1484-1495, December, 2005. (PDF)
- E. Öztürk, "Low Power Elliptic Curve Cryptography", Master's Thesis, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, April, 2005. (PDF)
- G. Gaubatz, J.-P. Kaps, E. Öztürk, and B. Sunar, "State of the art in ultra-low power public key cryptography for wireless sensor networks", Workshop on Pervasiv Computing and Communications Security - PerSec'05, IEEE Computer Society, pages 146-150, March, 2005. (PDF)
- E. Öztürk, B. Sunar, and E. Savaç, "Low-power elliptic curve cryptography using scaled modular arithmetic", Workshop on Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems - CHES 2004, Lecture Notes in Computer Science LNCS, volume 3156, Springer, pages 92-106, August, 2004 (PDF)
- G. Gaubatz, J.-P. Kaps, and B. Sunar, "Public key cryptography in sensor networks - revisited", 1st European Workshop on Security in Ad-Hoc and Sensor Networks (ESAS 2004), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, volume 3313, Springer, Heidelberg, pages 2-18, August, 2004. (PDF)
- K. Yüksel, J.-P. Kaps, and B. Sunar, "Universal Hash Functions for Emerging Ultra-Low-Power Networks", Proceeding of The Communications Networks and Distributed Systems Modeling and Simulation Conference (CNDS), San Diego, CA, January, 2004. (PDF)
- K. Yüksel, "Universal Hashing for Ultra-Low-Power Cryptographic Hardware Applications", Master's Thesis, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, May 2004. (PDF)
Links to Other Research Groups
These links open in a new browser window. Neither WPI nor the CRIS lab are responsible for the content of these external web sites.
- Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS) at UCLA
- Smart Dust Autonomous sensing and communication in a cubic millimeter
- TinyOs a component-based OS for the networked sensor regime
- TinySec Link Layer Encryption for Tiny Devices
- Pico Radio
- Dust Inc.
- CodeBlue Wireless Sensor Networks for Medical Care
Last modified: Thursday, 22-Jan-2009 16:07:03 EST