This talk describes techniques to accelerate the next-generation public-key cryptosystem Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) on general-purpose processor architectures. I will show how low-cost modifications to an existing general-purpose data path allow for high-performance implementations of this new cryptosystem. I will further present a thorough analysis of the performance advantage offered by the elliptic curve cryptosystem as well as by the acceleration techniques described in this talk, in particular, in comparison with the legacy cryptosystem RSA.

I will describe implementations for both a high-end 64-bit SPARC processor as well as for a 8-bit microcontroller. On a 1.5 GHz 64-bit data path using the techniques described above we measured a performance of 5,265 RSA-1024 op/s and 25,756 ECC-163 op/s. Looking at the next higher level of security strength, performance is 786 RSA-2048 op/s and 9,576 ECC-233 op/s. On a modified 8-bit ATmega128 microprocessor running at 8 MHz we measured an execution time of 0.29 s for ECC-163 and 11 s for RSA-1024. (The chosen key sizes for ECC and RSA provide equivalent security strength.)

Hans Eberle is a Distinguished Engineer in Sun Microsystems Laboratories, California, USA. After his work on public-key cryptosystem accelaration, he is now working on a large-scale datacenter switch.