Lightweight Implementation of Hummingbird Cryptographic Algorithm on 4-Bit Microcontrollers


The radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology provides an extensible, flexible and secure measure against product counterfeiting. However, due to the harsh cost and power constraints of RFID tags only dedicated cryptographic engines or low-power consumption microcontrollers can be integrated into tags to implement various security mechanisms. In this contribution, we investigate efficient implementation of an ultra-lightweight cryptographic algorithm Hummingbird on a zero-power 4-bit MARC4 microcontroller from Atmel and compare the performance of Hummingbird to another ultra-lightweight block cipher PRESENT on the same platform. Our experimental results show that after a system initialization phase Hummingbird can achieve about 58% faster throughput than the block cipher PRESENT on a 4-bit ATAM893-D microcontroller running at 16 KHz, 500 KHz and 2 MHz, respectively. In particular, Hummingbird can process one data block with less than 12 ms under a typical low power configuration of 4-bit microcontrollers such as an 1.8 V supply voltage and a 500 kHz clock frequency.

The 4th International Conference for Internet Technology and Secured Transactions (ICITST 2009)
Xinxin Fan
Xinxin Fan
Head of Cryptography

Cryptographer | Entrepreneur | Speaker | Practitioner