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NEC Develops Encryption Technology to Provide High-Speed Secure Communications for Sensor Devices- Secure Communication for Big Data -

*** For immediate use August 21, 2012

Tokyo, August 21, 2012 - NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) has developed high-speed, light-weight encryption technology to provide secure communications for information exchanged via sensor devices.

A large volume of information is now transmitted via sensor devices, such as surveillance cameras and GPS terminals, and some of this "big data" faces issues with privacy. To ensure the protection of privacy, communications data need to be encrypted between the sensor device and the server, and between sensor devices.

For secure communication involving big data, communications data encryption for sensor devices is carried out via small devices equipped with dedicated encryption circuits (hardware), or in software processing by microcomputers. Communications data encryption for servers is also performed in software processing. Communications via sensor devices must support all of these implementation environments and provide light-weight, high-speed and secure encryption algorithms.

Since AES (*1), which is currently used as a standard encryption algorithm, has a large circuit size, it is difficult to incorporate a dedicated encryption device into small sensor equipment. The current light-weight encryption algorithm (*2) that enables encryption in small circuits also poses challenges in lower processing speeds in software.

NEC's newly developed encryption algorithm enables high-speed processing in all environments, including small, dedicated encryption devices, and software processing on microcomputer servers. Its light weight places it in the world's smallest class for hardware circuits and calculation resources that include memory usage in microcontrollers.

Key features of this newly developed technology are as follows:

  1. High-speed encryption algorithm in all implementation environments from hardware to software
    NEC enhanced the generalized Feistel structure (*3) used for the current encryption algorithm, and features lightness, high-speed and security. NEC only provides this in four-bit processing so that high-speed processing can be achieved in software as well as hardware.
    Compared with the current representative encryption algorithms used exclusively for small devices, this technology achieves an equivalent processing speed for ASIC (*4), which is the integrated circuit for specific applications, and features 4.5 times faster software processing in a small microcomputer. It also provides a processing speed of 3.76 Gbps (2.5 times that of AES implemented in the C language) for CPUs used on the server (2.8 GHz clock).

  2. Operating on world's smallest scale calculation resources
    When creating a dedicated encryption device using ASIC, comparing the circuit size with the present AES encryption (secret key length: 128-bit) there is a reduction to about 1,800 gates, or about one-sixth (based on the assumption of a standard circuit configuration). When encryption processing is performed through software running on all-purpose microcontrollers (8/16/32-bit), this technology can operate on the world's smallest scale calculation resources of less than 1,000 bytes in ROM capacity and less than 500 bytes in RAM capacity.

  3. High-level security equivalent to existing encryption methods
    NEC confirmed that this technology has sufficient resistance, on a par with existing cryptanalytic methods such as the AES security evaluation method. This ensures a high level of security irrespective of the hardware or software.

NEC continues its research and development of this technology in order to drive business related to sensor systems and solution businesses using big data.


About NEC Corporation
NEC Corporation is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. By providing a combination of products and solutions that cross utilize the company's experience and global resources, NEC's advanced technologies meet the complex and ever-changing needs of its customers. NEC brings more than 100 years of expertise in technological innovation to empower people, businesses and society. For more information, visit NEC at

NEC is a registered trademark of NEC Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Other product or service marks mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners. (C)2012 NEC Corporation.


*1) AES: Advanced Encryption Standard. This is the most standard block encryption algorithm today, as indicated in FIPS PUB 197.

*2) PRESENT is an encryption algorithm proposed by cryptography researchers in Europe.

*3) One of the standard configuration methods of block ciphers proposed in 1989.

*4) ASIC: Application Specific Integrated Circuit

NEC Press Contacts (Japan)

Takehiko Kato
NEC Corporation

Joseph Jasper
NEC Corporation