Practical Symmetric Key Cryptography on Modern Graphics Hardware

Owen Harrison, John Waldron
Computer Architecture Group, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
17th USENIX Security Symposium July 28 – August 1, 2008, San Jose, CA. Pages 195-209


   title={Practical symmetric key cryptography on modern graphics hardware},

   author={Harrison, O. and Waldron, J.},

   booktitle={Proceedings of the 17th conference on Security symposium},



   organization={USENIX Association}


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Graphics processors are continuing their trend of vastly outperforming CPUs while becoming more general purpose. The latest generation of graphics processors have introduced the ability handle integers natively. This has increased the GPU’s applicability to many fields, especially cryptography. This paper presents an application oriented approach to block cipher processing on GPUs. A new block based conventional implementation of AES on an Nvidia G80 is shown with 4-10x speed improvements over CPU implementations and 2-4x speed increase over the previous fastest AES GPU implementation. We outline a general purpose data structure for representing cryptographic client requests which is suitable for execution on a GPU. We explore the issues related to the mapping of this general structure to the GPU. Finally we present the first analysis of the main encryption modes of operation on a GPU, showing the performance and behavioural implications of executing these modes under the outlined general purpose data model. Our AES implementation is used as the underlying block cipher to show the overhead of moving from an optimised hard-coded approach to a generalised one.
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