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Our dedicated researchers are active participants in a number of innovative security and modernization projects. They are committed to helping find creative solutions to modern challenges by utilizing their research at Scytl as a foundation.
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High Speed Encryption

CRYPTO FAST is a High Speed Encryption (HSE) Project focused on the acceleration of cryptographic operations for large volumes of users through standard hardware.

The technological solution of the HSE project focuses on the creation of a set of software libraries, which can be parameterized according to the needs of the application, allowing for the exploitation of the parallel computing power of GPUs and FPGAs for the execution of advanced cryptographic operations. Said software libraries will be installed in a prototype hardware platform for this type of devices that allows validating the improvements obtained in computational performance applied to advanced cryptographic algorithms.

This would allow meeting the scalability and efficiency needs of the applications required in different phases of the legally binding voting processes through the Internet. The operations of each stage of the pre-electoral, electoral and post-electoral processes have their own computational and cybersecurity requirements. Therefore, these libraries must be flexible enough to adapt to the different latency needs and the volume of data to be processed from the different phases and elements of the online electoral process.

For this purpose, in the framework of the CRYPTO FAST project, the different hardware alternatives existing in the market for GPUs and FPGAs will be investigated, as will their calculation potential, and the following activities will be carried out:
– Comparative analysis of computational features, mainly latency and throughput, of FPGAs and GPUs for their application in cryptographic operations with high volumes of users.
– Comparative analysis of the performance of the aforementioned experimental calculation units with respect to conventional CPUs in order to clearly identify their advantages both qualitatively and quantitatively.
– Development of optimized encryption algorithms based on the suite of security protocols that Scytl implements in its electoral modernization projects, to minimize latency times and data processing.
– Adaptation of the cryptographic primitives on which the mentioned protocols are based for their programming in the calculation units proposed in this project (GPUs and FPGAs)
– Generation of a public interface (Application Programming Interface, API) and a web service (Web Service, WS) that allows using the library of encryption algorithms in a simple way for the programmer of electoral modernization applications
– Generation of a portable version of the optimized algorithms using open standards such as OpenCL, OpenMP, and OpenACC to open the use of algorithms to other platforms considered of interest.
– Development of a hybrid server with various accelerators to minimize service time and maximize the throughput of operations performed per second.
– Reduction of the energy consumed by the server with respect to the operations carried out. The study of electric power consumption related to the two processing scenarios proposed as previous objectives to obtain consumption metrics per operation is proposed.
– The configuration of acceleration calculation units taking into account different architectures (Nvidia Maxwell and Kepler), and the use of FPGAs to reduce consumption without affecting the requirements of latency or throughout
– Integration with the Scytl Online Voting solution of computational acceleration technology that offers the best performance as a calculation unit in order to prove its validity in a real voting environment with high user volumes.
– Execution of a pilot test that combines the optimal cryptographic acceleration hardware for each phase of the process so that it can be tested in a real voting environment
– Functional level analysis of the improvements achieved through this new experimental hardware as well as the possible challenges it poses (eg possible additional security measures, interoperability, compatibility with other solutions, etc.).

The project will be executed during the period 2015 – 2017 with the following results:
August – December 2015: During the first year, the research phase of the project will be carried out, which will include the investigation of innovative mechanisms regarding the use of GPUs and FPGAs, review of previous developments and open source tools, the application of the performance engineering methodology, identification of reprogramming needs, the internal processes of the aforementioned calculation units and the implications of the latency / data volume commitment.
January – December 2016: During the second year, the research tasks will be deepened and an initial version of the Crypto Fast prototype will be developed, making use of it in an experimental pilot at the UAB itself.
January – December 2017: During 2017, the development of an advanced version of the Crypto Fast prototype will be completed, which will implement the security protocols based on advanced cryptography on the selected calculation units. This version will be tested in a large-scale pilot. During the execution of the project, the scope of the pilot and the finally selected client will be defined.

The project will have the participation of the following entities:
– Company:
– Research organization:
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Project co-financed by the Center for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) within the framework of the Call for Research and Development Projects, and by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the pluriregional operational program for smart growth.


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