Open Access

Supporting Symmetric 128-bit AES in Networked Embedded Systems: An Elliptic Curve Key Establishment Protocol-on-Chip

  • Roshan Duraisamy1Email author,
  • Zoran Salcic1,
  • Maurizio Adriano Strangio2 and
  • Miguel Morales-Sandoval3
EURASIP Journal on Embedded Systems20072007:065751

DOI: 10.1155/2007/65751

Received: 14 July 2006

Accepted: 12 December 2006

Published: 21 February 2007


The secure establishment of cryptographic keys for symmetric encryption via key agreement protocols enables nodes in a network of embedded systems and remote agents to communicate securely in an insecure environment. In this paper, we propose a pure hardware implementation of a key agreement protocol, which uses the elliptic curve Diffie-Hellmann and digital signature algorithms and enables two parties, a remote agent and a networked embedded system, to establish a 128-bit symmetric key for encryption of all transmitted data via the advanced encryption scheme (AES). The resulting implementation is a protocol-on-chip that supports full 128-bit equivalent security (PoC-128). The PoC-128 has been implemented in an FPGA, but it can also be used as an IP within different embedded applications. As 128-bit security is conjectured valid for the foreseeable future, the PoC-128 goes well beyond the state of art in securing networked embedded devices.

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Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, The University of Auckland
Department of Information, Systems and Production, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"
Computer Science Department, National Institute for Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics


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© Duraisamy et al. 2007

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.