For implementing secured web transactions, there should be a protection via public-key cryptography. MIT researchers have worked on a solution and come out with a chip that makes use of IoT technologies in order to facilitate web transactions. As we all know, public-key cryptography protocols are executed in a computer network with the help of a software. But, this does not work in IoT when a network consists of a number of different sensors. These sensors serve applications such as vehicles, appliances, civil structures, manufacturing equipment, livestock tags and online servers.
Researchers at MIT say that the chip is capable of performing public-key encryption. The power consumption has also been analyzed with reference to that consumed during software execution of protocols. Like many, the chip employs the technique of elliptic-curve encryption. This encryption technique depends upon the mathematical function known as elliptic curve. In the past, we have seen that the chips served specific type of elliptic curves whereas as per MIT, this chip possesses the capability of handling any type of elliptic curve.
In order to create the general-purpose elliptic-curve chip, the researchers decomposed the cryptographic computation into its constituent parts. Elliptic-curve cryptography depends on the theme modular arithmetic. This gives a notion that values of numbers that are a part of computation are assigned a limit against them. If the result in any calculation exceeds the limit, it’s divided by the limit, and then only the remainder is preserved. Cryptographic security is maintained keeping in mind the secrecy of the limit.
This chip also relies on the concept of modular multiplication. Since this cryptography method involves large numbers, the chip’s modular multiplier is a large entity. A typical modular multiplier can handle numbers containing 16 or 32 binary digits. For carrying out calculations involving large numbers, additional logic circuits are employed.
An operation, known as inversion has been a part of elliptic-curve cryptography. Previously, inversions and modular multiplication were done by the same circuit thus saving the chip space. This chip differs in the fact that it contains an inverter circuit that has increased the chip’s surface area. But MIT researchers feel that the reduction in power usage will complement this feature. For encryption, the chip uses datagram transport layer security protocol.
For executing other elliptic-curve-based security protocols, the chip features a general-purpose processor that works along with the chip’s circuitry.