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Energy-Efficient Encryption for the Internet of Things

By MIT News

February 14, 2018

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Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have constructed a chip that performs public-key encryption while consuming only 1/400 as much power as software execution of the same protocols would, and also using about 1/10 the memory to execute 500 times faster.

This general-purpose elliptic-curve chip has a modular multiplier that can handle 256-bit numbers, and a special-purpose inverter circuit enlarges the chip's surface area by 10% while halving power consumption.

The datagram transport layer security protocol is hardwired into the chip, dramatically cutting the amount of memory required for its execution. Also integrated into the chip is a general-purpose processor that can be used in tandem with the dedicated circuitry to carry out other elliptic-curve-based security protocols, but it can be powered down when not in use so it will not compromise energy efficiency.

The researchers envision the chip as a mechanism for efficient encryption of Internet of Things devices.

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