[Resource Topic] 2022/1198: To Be, or Not to Be Stateful: Post-Quantum Secure Boot using Hash-Based Signatures

Welcome to the resource topic for 2022/1198

To Be, or Not to Be Stateful: Post-Quantum Secure Boot using Hash-Based Signatures

Authors: Alexander Wagner, Felix Oberhansl, Marc Schink


While research in post-quantum cryptography (PQC) has gained
significant momentum, it is only slowly adopted for real-world
products. This is largely due to concerns about practicability and
maturity. The secure boot process of embedded devices is one s-
cenario where such restraints can result in fundamental security
problems. In this work, we present a flexible hardware/software
co-design for hash-based signature (HBS) schemes which enables
the move to a post-quantum secure boot today. These signature
schemes stand out due to their straightforward security proofs and
are on the fast track to standardisation. In contrast to previous
works, we exploit the performance intensive similarities of the s-
tateful LMS and XMSS schemes as well as the stateless SPHINCS+
scheme. Thus, we enable designers to use a stateful or stateless
scheme depending on the constraints of each individual application.
To show the feasibility of our approach, we compare our results
with hardware accelerated implementations of classical asymmetric
algorithms. Further, we lay out the usage of different HBS schemes
during the boot process. We compare different schemes, show the
importance of parameter choices, and demonstrate the performance
gain with different levels of hardware acceleration.

ePrint: https://eprint.iacr.org/2022/1198

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