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# Practical RSA vs. ECC Speed Comparisons

Practical RSA vs. ECC Speed Comparisons. Dr. Douglas A. Kuhlman Motorola Labs. Public Key Primitives. Key exchange: Share a “short” (128-256 bit) key between two parties (server and client) This key is used to encrypt all information passed during the session

## Practical RSA vs. ECC Speed Comparisons

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1. Practical RSA vs. ECCSpeed Comparisons Dr. Douglas A. Kuhlman Motorola Labs

2. Public Key Primitives • Key exchange: Share a “short” (128-256 bit) key between two parties (server and client) • This key is used to encrypt all information passed during the session • Sign: The process of binding some piece of information to a specific entity • Verify: The process of validating a signature • Certificate: A signed binding of public information to a certain entity (an individual, company, or device)

3. RSA Overview • Based on the difficulty of factoring n = pq, where p and q are very large primes • Public parameters: (n, e) • Private key: d (value s.t. ed = 1 (mod φ(n)) • Main strength parameter is |n|, the number of bits in n • |n| = 1024 fairly common

4. ECC Overview • Based on more complicated mathematics • Public parameters: (E, P, Q) • Private key: a (value s.t aP = Q) • Main strength parameter is |E|, the number of bits in the order of E • |E| = 160/163 or 192 common

5. Wireless Transport Layer Security (WTLS) Application (WAE) • Class 1 WTLS Implementation • No certificates exchanged in secure negotiation • Client and server set up secure tunnel anonymously • Secure session created, but who is talking to whom? • Class 2 WTLS Implementation • Server certificate sent to client during handshake • Client authenticates server • User (client) obtains server’s identity before wireless transaction (e.g. shopping with credit card) • Class 3 WTLS Implementation • Server & client certificates exchanged • Client authenticates server • Server authenticates client • High security transactions (e.g. wireless banking) • need client & server authentication Session (WSP) Transaction (WTP) Security (WTLS) Transport (WDP) WAP Stack

6. WTLS Security Class 1 • Key exchange only • No infrastructure (PKI) needed • No way to authenticate server or client • Encrypts credit card number, but to whom are you are giving it? • Applications • When other methods of authentication are available • Telephone calls, visible results • When no infrastructure is available • Better than nothing • False sense of security?

7. WTLS Security Class 2 • Key exchange, server signs, client verifies • Equivalent to HTML browser, authenticates server • Requires some PKI • Client must have a trusted root key • Server certificate must be signed by trusted authority • Possibly in a certificate tree • Server is responsible for keeping private key secret • Best for transactions where client identity can be verified through different means • Ship to credit card address • Client provides password/pin to server

8. WTLS Security Class 3 • Key exchange, server and client sign and verify • Requires full PKI • Every server and client must have a certificate signed by a trusted authority • Server and client need to keep a key secret • Adds a higher level of trust for service providers by authenticating client • Stock purchases, banking • Electronic signature • Business approval signatures, access to medical data

9. Public Key Options in WTLS Standard • RSA • Current wireline standard • Large key size (1024 bits) • Use of small exponent (65537 = 216 + 1) makes this fastest for WTLS class 2 • Elliptic curve • Small key size (163 bits) • Fastest for WTLS class 3 (signing) • Conceptually most difficult

10. Elliptic Curves - WTLS Standard

11. Execution time on a Cellular Phone • Processing power available for cryptographic functions: • Varies depending on system and manufacturer • 50% to 90% taken for call processing • Varies depending on signal conditions • More call processing needed under low signal conditions Total execution time for class 3 security functions can range from < 1sec for fast Elliptic Curve to > 10sec for RSA/DH implementations under weak signal conditions. Hardware support can increase speed up to 10 times

12. RSA Implementation Techniques Used • Montgomery multiplication • Windowing for large exponent calculations • Chinese Remainder Theorem (CRT) for private key calculations • Small (216 + 1) public key • No hand-coded assembly language

13. ECC Implementation Techniques Used • Projective points • Polynomial basis • Windowing/combing as appropriate • Some NAF forms, some not • No hand-coded assembly language used See http://cacr.math.uwaterloo.ca/~ajmeneze/publications/ecc2.ps for more details

14. WAP WTLS Class 2 and Class 3Client Execution Time Comparison 10 9 8 7 Relative Times 6 Verify 5 Sign + Verify 4 3 2 1 0 Curve 3 Curve 5 RSA Comparison is from Motorola Labs using the best implementation available from several toolkits. RSA is 1024 bits with the client using a small exponent to encrypt the random secret.

15. WAP WTLS Class 3Memory Size Comparison 60 50 40 Kbytes ROM 30 RAM 20 10 0 Curve 3 Curve 5 RSA Comparison is from Motorola Labs using the best implementation available from several toolkits.

16. Other Algorithms • NTRU, Arithmetica, XTR, HECC, braid groups, etc. • Trying to get a foothold in standards/business • Only NTRU seems to be having any success • Questions of security • Hard to find/make good benchmarks • Biased sources • Algorithms change • Good optimization is a lengthy process

17. Future Considerations • RSA has more momentum • Patent issues could loom large • Moore’s law and advances in algorithms suggest current key sizes will be inadequate in the future • Doubling an RSA or an ECC key size multiplies the processing time by ~8 • However, doubling an ECC key size adds more security than doubling an RSA key size • |E| = 320 probably more secure than |n| = 2048 • This implies ECC might have a future advantage

18. Future Considerations (Cont) • Advances in factoring vs. advances in ECDLP • Both problems are pretty old mathematically • Businesses (with their \$\$\$) have considered factoring longer • Community working on factoring appears to be larger • Took years of study before “good” factoring algorithms (EC, QS, NFS, GNFS) were found • Few real advances to date against ECC • Problems are related • Quantum algorithms exist for both • Very hard to predict

19. Other Issues • Scaling of servers in class 2 is easier with ECC • Other speed/code size trade-offs are possible • Key generation easier for ECC (using standardized curves) • Signature sizes are smaller for ECC than with RSA

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