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A Real-World Analysis of Lightweight Cryptographic Algorithm ASCON

May 9, 2022


Jeffrey Avery - Northrop Grumman Corporation


Cyber physical systems and embedded devices have become integral to our everyday lives. Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities continue to advance and are being applied to technology domains such as military, utility and healthcare. The criticality of the data within these domains requires strong security and integrity. Our research provides a novel evaluation of the lightweight cryptographic algorithm ASCON to real world applications. We evaluate the impact of ASCON using an IoT environment located at the United States of Airforce Academy (USAFA) We found that ASCON performs as expected when applied to the MQTT message protocol to encrypt messages without inhibiting information sharing but providing the necessary security and integrity. We show that ASCON is comparable to performance measures of AES but with a smaller memory footprint. This is significant in that it translates to broader applications and opportunities where compact systems are required. This is the first evaluation of ASCON in real world applications.

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Related Topics

Security and Privacy: cryptography

Created May 05, 2022, Updated May 10, 2022