International Workshop on Radio Frequency Identification: Security and Privacy Issues

RFIDSec 2013: Radio Frequency Identification pp 147-160

Energy-Architecture Tuning for ECC-Based RFID Tags

Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-41332-2_10

Volume 8262 of the book series Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS)
Cite this paper as:
Mane D., Schaumont P. (2013) Energy-Architecture Tuning for ECC-Based RFID Tags. In: Hutter M., Schmidt JM. (eds) Radio Frequency Identification. RFIDSec 2013. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 8262. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg


The implementation of Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) on small microcontrollers is challenging. Past research has therefore emphasized performance optimization: pick a target architecture, and minimize the cycle count and footprint of the ECC software. This paper addresses a different aspect of resource-constrained ECC implementation: given the application profile, identify the most suitable architecture parameters. At the highest level, an application profile for ECC-based RFID tags is defined by the required security level, signature generation latency and the available energy/power budget. The target architecture parameters of interest include core-voltage, core-frequency, and/or the need for hardware acceleration. The paper brings two contributions to this complex design space exploration problem. First, we introduce a prototype setup for the precise energy measurement of a microcontroller-based ECC implementation. Second, we present a methodology to derive and optimize the architecture parameters starting from the application requirements. We demonstrate our methodology on a MSP430F5438A microcontroller, and present the energy/architecture design space for 80-bit and 128-bit security-levels, for prime field curves secp160r1 and nistp256.


Public key cryptography Elliptic curves RFID Energy harvesting Throughput Digital signatures 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Secure Embedded Systems, Center for Embedded Systems for Critical Applications, Bradley Department of ECEVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA