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Elliptic curve cryptosystems (ECCs) are utilised as an alternative to traditional public-key cryptosystems, and are more suitable for resource-limited environments because of smaller parameter size. In this study, the authors carry out a thorough investigation of side-channel attack aware ECC implementations over finite fields of prime characteristic including the recently introduced Edwards formulation of elliptic curves. The Edwards formulation of elliptic curves is promising in performance with built-in resiliency against simple side-channel attacks. To our knowledge the authors present the first hardware implementation for the Edwards formulation of elliptic curves. The authors also propose a technique to apply non-adjacent form (NAF) scalar multiplication algorithm with side-channel security using the Edwards formulation. In addition, the authors implement Joye's highly regular add-always scalar multiplication algorithm both with the Weierstrass and Edwards formulation of elliptic curves. Our results show that the Edwards formulation allows increased area-time performance with projective coordinates. However, the Weierstrass formulation with affine coordinates results in the simplest architecture, and therefore has the best area-time performance as long as an efficient modular divider is available.
Date of Publication: March 2010