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Post-Quantum TLS on Embedded Systems: Integrating and Evaluating Kyber and SPHINCS+ with mbed TLS

: Bürstinghaus-Steinbach, Kevin; Krauß, Christoph; Niederhagen, Ruben; Schneider, Michael


Sun, H.-M. ; Association for Computing Machinery -ACM-; Association for Computing Machinery -ACM-, Special Interest Group on Security, Audit and Control -SIGSAC-:
AsiaCCS 2020, 15th ACM Asia Conference on Computer and Communications Security. Proceedings : October 5-9, 2020, Taipei, Taiwan, postponed
New York: ACM, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-4503-6750-9
ASIA Conference on Computer and Communications Security (ASIACCS) <15, 2020, Taipei/cancelled>
Fraunhofer SIT ()

We present our integration of post-quantum cryptography (PQC), more specifically of the post-quantum KEM scheme Kyber for key establishment and the post-quantum signature scheme SPHINCS+, into the embedded TLS library mbed TLS. We measure the performance of these post-quantum primitives on four different embedded platforms with three different ARM processors and an Xtensa LX6 processor. Furthermore, we compare the performance of our experimental PQC cipher suite to a classical TLS variant using elliptic curve cryptography (ECC). Post-quantum key establishment and signature schemes have been either integrated into TLS or ported to embedded devices before. However, to the best of our knowledge, we are the first to combine TLS, post-quantum schemes, and embedded systems and to measure and evaluate the performance of post-quantum TLS on embedded platforms. Our results show that post-quantum key establishment with Kyber performs well in TLS on embedded devices compared to ECC variants. The use of SPHINCS+ signatures comes with certain challenges in terms of signature size and signing time, which mainly affects the use of embedded systems as PQC-TLS server but does not necessarily prevent embedded systems to act as PQC-TLS clients.