On Lightweight Security for Constrained Environments

Jonathan Sönnerup

Research output: ThesisLicentiate Thesis

322 Downloads (Pure)


The market of connected devices, IoT devices in particular, is hotter than ever. Today, lightweight IoT devices are used in several sectors, such as smart cities, smart homes, healthcare, and the manufacturing industry.
IoT solutions help increase productivity by predictive maintenance and resource management in the industry. Devices with voice interfaces are spreading rapidly in the home automation markets. Hospitals utilize these ``smart'' devices to monitor patients and present diagnostics data, aiding physicians in their work.

It is safe to say that we will be surrounded with more and more connected devices. This opens up to potential attacks, where adversaries may try to disrupt critical services or steal sensitive information. To combat this, data needs to be secured in different ways. This dissertation presents cryptographic algorithms and their performance in constrained environments.

First, a new lightweight cryptographic algorithm, Grain-128AEAD, is presented. Grain-128AEAD is a stream cipher designed to be implemented in hardware at a low cost while still being fast. The new design improves on earlier versions by making previous attacks more difficult.

Next, Grain-128AEAD is implemented in hardware using multiple optimization techniques to fit different criteria. Trade-offs between throughput, power, and area are evaluated to analyze the suitability for both constrained devices but also for server back-ends.

Finally, the overhead when adding confidentiality and authenticity for communication in an IoT device is evaluated. Here, modern lightweight protocols are utilized in multiple use-cases to give an overview of the overhead in terms of bytes, time, and energy.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Electrical and Information Technology
  • Hell, Martin, Supervisor
  • Höst, Martin, Assistant supervisor
  • Stankovski Wagner, Paul, Assistant supervisor
ISBN (Print)978-91-7895-576-3
ISBN (electronic) 978-91-7895-577-0
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering


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  • An AEAD Variant of the Grain Stream Cipher

    Hell, M., Johansson, T., Meier, W., Sönnerup, J. & Yoshida, H., 2019, Codes, Cryptology and Information Security: Third International Conference, C2SI 2019, Rabat, Morocco, April 22–24, 2019, Proceedings - In Honor of Said El Hajji. Carlet, C., Guilley, S., Nitaj, A. & Souidi, E. M. (eds.). Springer Nature, p. 55-71 17 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding

  • Efficient Hardware Implementations of Grain-128AEAD

    Sönnerup, J., Hell, M., Sönnerup, M. & Khattar, R., 2019, Progress in Cryptology – INDOCRYPT 2019 - 20th International Conference on Cryptology Proceedings. Hao, F., Ruj, S. & Sen Gupta, S. (eds.). Springer Gabler, p. 495-513 19 p. (Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics); vol. 11898 LNCS).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review

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