Mote-ECC: energy-scalable elliptic curve cryptography for wireless sensor networks Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are susceptible to a wide range of malicious attacks, which has stimulated a body of research on “light-weight” security protocols and cryptographic primitives that are suitable for resource-restricted sensor nodes. In this paper we introduce MoTE-ECC, a highly optimized yet scalable ECC library for Memsic’s MICAz motes and other sensor nodes equipped with an 8-bit AVR processor. MoTE-ECC supports scalar multiplication on Montgomery and twisted Edwards curves over optimal prime fields (OPFs) of variable size, e.g. 160, 192, 224, and 256 bits, which allows for various trade-offs between security and execution time (resp. energy consumption). OPFs are a special family of “low-weight” prime fields that, in contrast to the NIST-specified fields, facilitate a parameterized implementation of the modular arithmetic so that one and the same software function can be used for operands of different length. To demonstrate the performance of MoTE-ECC, we take (ephemeral) ECDH key exchange between two nodes as example, which requires each node to execute two scalar multiplications. The first scalar multiplication is performed on a fixed base point (to generate a key pair), whereas the second scalar multiplication gets an arbitrary point as input. Our implementation uses a fixed-base comb method on a twisted Edwards curve for the former and a simple ladder approach on a birationally-equivalent Montgomery curve for the latter. Both scalar multiplications require about $9 cdot 10^{6}$ clock cycles in total and occupy only 380 bytes in RAM when the underlying OPF has a length of 160 bits. We also describe our efforts to harden MoTE-ECC against side-channel attacks (e.g. simple power analysis) and introduce a highly regular implementation of the comb method.

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