Lightweight Cryptography Algorithms for Embedded Systems

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1.0 Introduction to Embedded Systems:

Embedded systems prevail in this digitalized world in various forms extending from automobiles, home automation, wireless avionics or sensor nodes. These embedded systems (ESs) are being deployed in form of miniature wearable nodes as well as large industrial installation (Manifavas, et al., 2013). The ESs can be found in form of tiny chips installed in video cables, keyboards, controllers, mobile phones. ESs also differ vastly from being used as normal desktop and server systems although these do not directly perform any computing process, but tare adapted to perform under domain-specific areas for carrying on special dedicated tasks (Rana, et al., 2018). The embedded system usually contains the input receptor and an actuator for converting the input data into an output as per the embedded code in the device. 

2.0 Need for Lightweight Cryptography Algorithms 

Embedded devices have the inherited limitation when it comes to processing power, memory, storage and energy. In this instance, cryptography has been widely applied for directly impacting the overall ESs in terms of size, cost, speed and power consumption (Buchanan, 2017). Cryptography means “secret writing” (Rana et al., 2018). It allows the users to communicate the information electronically using the encrypted codes that can only be deciphered by the expected user. The traditional cryptography solutions do provide the high levels of security, while ignoring the requirements of constrained devices (Manifavas, et al., 2013). The limitation of memory and space has given rise to extensive application of lightweight cryptography (LWC) and pushed the researchers in designing cryptography for devices with constrained capabilities in terms of hardware design, software, connectivity and power supply (Rana, et al., 2018). 

In 2007, extensive research had been made on LWC for evaluating the hardware and software implementation in lightweight symmetric as well as lightweight asymmetric cryptography (Manifavas et al., 2013). Today, with widespread utilization of the small electronic devices including smart cards, Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, sensory nodes and industrial controllers, concerns with security and privacy have risen extensively. Hence, the cryptography mechanisms are challenging to be implemented due to rising concerns of security, memory safety and storage capacity of small devices (Rana, et al., 2018). Optimization of security, performance, memory safety and resource requirements make it difficult for conventional cryptography algorithms to be implemented in resource-constrained devices. The table below shows the device spectrums that utilize conventional cryptography and LWC (Rana, et al., 2018). 

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