Cryptographic Hardware Support for the Linux Kernel - Netconf 2004

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Information about Cryptographic Hardware Support for the Linux Kernel - Netconf 2004
Technology

Published on June 30, 2009

Author: jamesmorris

Source: slideshare.net

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"Cryptographic Hardware Support for the Linux Kernel" - presentation given at Netconf 2004 in Portland OR.

Cryptographic Hardware Support for the Linux Kernel James Morris Red Hat Inc. Oregon Networking Summit, July 2004

Current Status Simple crypto API in the 2.6 kernel, designed primarily for IPSec and then disk encryption.  Does not support hardware crypto at all. Optimized ASM modules should be supported soon in a simple way (i.e. automatically selected). Good range of algorithms, more than enough for IPSec and other users so far. Easy to add new algorithms, basically working OK.

Summary of future directions Optimized ASM modules. Simple support should be available soon where ASM module is automagically selected at kernel configuration time.  Asymmetric crypto.  Support for various hardware devices.  Userspace API for access to hardware devices.

Optimized ASM Simple support is easily integrateable (this word should be shot) into the current 2.6 kernel. i586 AES ASM module from Fruhwirth Clemens is ready to be integrated, should be available soon.  Config-time algorithm selection only for 2.6. As part of the hardware API, I would like to implement a more sophisticated runtime algorithm selection system, which tests the speed of all available implementations and tries to do the best thing by default. Admin override via API essential.

Asymmetric Crypto This is potentially useful in the kernel for verification of loadable modules and program loading. Some work happening in this area. Software support should be mergable for 2.6. Crypto API may not need to be changed very much. Asymmetric crypto is becoming more common in hardware, and is likely to offer very good benefits over software implementations compared to symmetric crypto. Userspace access to asymmetric crypto hardware would be useful, for e.g. SSL, SSH, IKE etc.

Hardware Devices  Several types of cryptographic hardware:  PCI cards with crypto processors. Becoming faster and increasingly sophisticated.  Chipset/platform crypto (e.g. TPM, s390 z990).  CPU level, such as the VIA xcrypt instructions.  Devices with crypto processors integrated, such as the PRO100/S.  Level of sophistication ranges from simply performing AES or DES synchronously to programmable devices with asynchronous and parallel processing, and protocol offload.

Why Crypto Hardware? (1) Modern CPU performance for software crypto is very good, better than most crypto cards I have. Crypto processor cards will also require increased PCI bus trips.  But, there are several cases for hardware crypto:  Scalability: high end system with good I/O may have several cards offloading cpu intensive tasks. Trade latency off against scalability.  Useful for specialized embedded systems running Linux.

Why Crypto Hardware? (2)  Research paper by OpenBSD developers1 has some very useful information (PCI based crypto processors):  Smaller buffers do not tend to benefit from hardware acceleration. Should be done in software or batched to hardware.  As buffers become larger, PCI bus transaction overheads are amortized. Dramatic performance improvement for larger buffers.  Aggregate performance very good with parallelization & multithreading (but higher latency).  Reduces CPU contention. 1 http://www.openbsd.org/events.html#usenix2003

Requirements  Asynchronous kernel crypto API:  Configurable batching, load balancing, parallel access (crypto scheduler?).  Support for synchronous hardware (VIA).  Driver API for crypto hardware.  Configurable algorithm selection.  User API for access to hardware (cryptoapifs?).  Metrics. Also see http://samba.org/~jamesm/crypto/hardware_notes.txt

What's needed. Someone to do the work, both design and coding. Not a trivial project.  More hardware and documentation.  GPL drivers.  Mailing list to coordinate/discuss?

Current status of HW support Some high level requirements (per previous slide & web page). A few GPL drivers available, some incomplete. Much rework probably needed.  Some hardware documentation.  Several people have hardware, can probably get more. A company is reportedly working on this, but I have not heard anything from them in a while.  Lots of people email me asking if anyone is working on it, because they want to. Nothing ever happens.  Mailing list set up by Michael Ludvig, has five messages so far. http://lists.logix.cz/mailman/listinfo/cryptoapi

Issues / Discussion  Protocol offload.  Requirements capture important, please email them to me if you have any.

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