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Abstract - Security Symposium - 2000

An Open-source Cryptographic Coprocessor

Peter Gutmann, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand


Current crypto implementations rely on software running under general-purpose operating systems alongside a horde of untrusted applications, ActiveX controls, web browser plugins, mailers handling messages with embedded active content, and numerous other threats to security, with only the OSŐs (often almost nonexistant) security to keep the two apart. This paper presents a general-purpose open-source crypto coprocessor capable of securely performing crypto operations such as key management, certificate creation and handling, and email encryption, decryption, and signing, at a cost one to two orders of magnitude below that of commercial equivalents while providing generally equivalent performance and a higher level of functionality. The paper examines various issues involved in designing the coprocessor, and explores options for hardware acceleration of crypto operations for extended performance above and beyond that offered by the basic coprocessor's COTS hardware.
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Last changed: 29 Jan. 2002 ml
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