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Theme fund: NGI Assure
Start: 2021-06
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Software engineering


CGRA- based reconfigurable open-source cryptographic IP cores

OpenCryptoHW aims to develop reconfigurable open-source cryptographic hardware IP cores for Next Generation Internet. With the Internet of Things (IoT) upon us, security and privacy are more important than ever. On the one hand, if the security and privacy features are exclusively implemented in software, the risk of breaches is high. On the other hand, if implemented solely in hardware, it is impossible to fix bugs or deploy critical updates, which is also a threat to security and privacy. Hence, we propose to use reconfigurable hardware, providing the flexibility of software and the trustworthiness of hardware. Hacking into it requires first hacking the device’s configuration infrastructure and then hacking the algorithm itself, which is way more complicated. There have been proposals to implement cryptographic IP cores using Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGAs). However, the FPGA configuration infrastructure is cumbersome and proprietary, increasing device cost and compromising safety. Therefore, we propose to use open-source Coarse-Grained Reconfigurable Arrays (CGRAs) instead of FPGAs. CGRAs have much lighter configuration circuits and are not controlled by any private entity. With OpenCryptoHW, hardware and system designers will be able to download CGRA-based cryptography IP cores for free and under a permissive license, ready to integrate into their silicon designs.

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This project was funded through the NGI Assure Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 957073.