Hardware Accelerator Approach Towards Efficient Biometric Cryptosystems for Network Security

Charles McGuffey, Chen Liu, Stephanie Schuckers


Protecting data and its communication is a critical part of the modern network. The science of protecting data, known as cryptography, uses secret keys to encrypt data in a format that is not easily decipherable. However, most commonly secure logons for a workstation connected to a network use passwords to perform user authentication. These passwords are a weak link in the security chain, and are a common point of attack on cryptography schemes. One alternative to password usage for network security is to use a person’s physical characteristics to verify who the person is and unlock the data correspondingly. This study focuses on the Cambridge biometric cryptosystem, a system for performing user authentication based on a user’s iris data. The implementation of this system expanded from a single-core software-only system to a collaborative system consisting of a single core and a hardware accelerator. The experiment takes place on a Xilinx Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC. Software implementation is performed on one of the embedded ARM A9 cores while hardware implementation makes use of the programmable logic. Our hardware acceleration produced a speedup of 2.2X while reducing energy usage to 47.5 % of its original value for the combined enrolment and verification process. These results are also compared to a many-core acceleration of the same system, providing an analysis of different acceleration methods.


hardware acceleration, biometric cryptosystem, iris recognition, Reed-Solomon code, Hadamard code

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.2498/cit.1002764

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