[Resource Topic] 2020/833: Secure Update of FPGA-based Secure Elements using Partial Reconfiguration

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Secure Update of FPGA-based Secure Elements using Partial Reconfiguration

Authors: Florian Unterstein, Tolga Sel, Thomas Zeschg, Nisha Jacob, Michael Tempelmeier, Michael Pehl, Fabrizio De Santis


Secure Elements (SEs) are hardware trust anchors which provide cryptographic services including secure storage of secret keys and certificates. In long-living devices certain cryptographic functions might get insecure over time, e.g. new implementation attacks or bugs are discovered, and might require to be updated. On FPGAs, partial reconfiguration (PR) offers the opportunity to overcome this issue by replacing buggy or outdated hardware on the fly. This work provides an architecture for an FPGA-based secure element that can be securely updated. The proposed mechanism uses a side-channel protected authenticated encryption with associated data (AEAD) engine for decryption and authentication of partial bitstreams, while the device unique key is generated from a Physical Unclonable Function (PUF). A proof-of-concept of the design is implemented on a Xilinx Zynq-7020 FPGA.

ePrint: https://eprint.iacr.org/2020/833

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