The ASCON-F IP core is a compact, high-throughput hardware engine implementing the lightweight authenticated encryption with associated data (AEAD) and hashing algorithms described in the Ascon v1.2 specification.
A single instance of the ASCON-F IP core can encrypt or decrypt data using the Ascon-128 and Ascon-128a functions or perform Cryptographic hashing Hash per the Ascon-Hash and Ascon-Hasha functions. The mode of operation (encryption or decryption, and Ascon function), as well as the encryption key and nonce values, are run-time programmable and can be changed per block of input data. The core uses simple input and output interfaces, that can be optionally bridged to AXI4-Stream, or to AXI4 Memory Mapped master or slave ports using bridges separately available from CAST.
The core synthesizes to approximately 11k gates and is able to run at frequencies exceeding 2 GHz in modern ASIC technologies. Ignoring overheads related to input padding and core initialization, the throughput ranges from 5.3 to 16 bits/cycle depending on the mode and function, which at 2 GHz translates to 10.6 to 32 Gbps. The processing throughput can be further scaled by instantiating the core multiple times.
The core is designed for ease of use and integration and adheres to industry-best coding and verification practices. Technology mapping and timing closure are trouble-free, as the core contains no multi-cycle or false paths and uses only rising-edge-triggered D-type flip-flops, no tri-states, no SRAMs, and a single-clock/reset domain.
The ASCON family of algorithms was developed by Graz University of Technology, Infineon Technologies, Lamarr Security Research, and Radboud University and was selected in February 2023 by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as the new standard for lightweight cryptography. Learn more online at NIST, Wikipedia, and the Ascon website by Graz University of Technology.