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Hao Cheng Hao Cheng

The defense of my Ph.D. thesis Efficient and Side-Channel Resistant Implementations of Next-Generation Cryptography took place on September 19, 2023. My Ph.D. thesis received the 2023 Excellent Thesis Award of the University of Luxembourg.
thesis | slides

defense committee>

defense committee #

  • Jean-Sébastien Coron, University of Luxembourg
  • Robert Granger, University of Surrey
  • Volker Müller, University of Luxembourg
  • Daniel Page, University of Bristol
  • Peter Y. A. Ryan, University of Luxembourg

abstract #

The rapid development of emerging information technologies, such as quantum computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), will have or have already had a huge impact on the world. These technologies can not only improve industrial productivity but they could also bring more convenience to people’s daily lives. However, these techniques have “side effects” in the world of cryptography – they pose new difficulties and challenges from theory to practice. Specifically, when quantum computing capability (i.e., logical qubits) reaches a certain level, Shor’s algorithm will be able to break almost all public-key cryptosystems currently in use. On the other hand, a great number of devices deployed in IoT environments have very constrained computing and storage resources, so the current widely-used cryptographic algorithms may not run efficiently on those devices. A new generation of cryptography has thus emerged, including Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC), which remains secure under both classical and quantum attacks, and LightWeight Cryptography (LWC), which is tailored for resource-constrained devices. Research on next-generation cryptography is of importance and utmost urgency, and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology in particular has initiated the standardization process for PQC and LWC in 2016 and in 2018 respectively.

Since next-generation cryptography is in a premature state and has developed rapidly in recent years, its theoretical security and practical deployment are not very well explored and are in significant need of evaluation. This thesis aims to look into the engineering aspects of next-generation cryptography, i.e., the problems concerning implementation efficiency (e.g., execution time and memory consumption) and security (e.g., countermeasures against timing attacks and power side-channel attacks). In more detail, we first explore efficient software implementation approaches for lattice-based PQC on constrained devices. Then, we study how to speed up isogeny-based PQC on modern high-performance processors especially by using their powerful vector units. Moreover, we research how to design sophisticated yet low-area instruction set extensions to further accelerate software implementations of LWC and long-integer-arithmetic-based PQC. Finally, to address the threats from potential power side-channel attacks, we present a concept of using special leakage-aware instructions to eliminate overwriting leakage for masked software implementations (of next-generation cryptography).