VAMPIRE - Virtual Applications and Implementations Research Lab

Welcome to the third lab of ECRYPT, the Virtual Applications and Implementations Research Lab (VAMPIRE).
VAMPIRE, the Virtual Applications and Implementation Research Lab, deals with all aspects surrounding the realization of cryptography in the real world. In particular, the two themes efficient implementation and secure implementation are considered. Given that many real-world security breaches are based on exploiting weaknesses in the implementation, VAMPIRE plays an important role. The VAMPIRE lab has a dual role in ECRYPT II. On the one hand, it will research new techniques that are related to efficient and secure implementation. On the other hand, VAMPIRE will provide a bridge between the research and the user community.
In concrete terms, the technical goals of the VAMPIRE lab for the duration of ECRYPT II can be summarized as: development of novel efficient implementation techniques in hardware and software, the development of a solid understanding of existing and new physical attacks and efficient countermeasures, and researching and understanding of cryptanalytical hardware and its impact on cryptographic parameters.
There are also non-technical objectives: We expect that the important field of cryptographic implementation grows internationally through VAMPIRE and that the interplay of secure algorithms and secure implementations becomes more prominent. We plan to foster cooperation between strong engineering groups and pure crypto groups. Also, it is a major goal to bridge the existing gap between the research community and engineers in industry who need to apply implementation techniques. Another important objective is to assist the researchers in the other (more theoretical) Virtual Labs in understanding the requirements and meeting the needs of applied cryptography. The interdisciplinary structure of ECRYPT II appears to be an ideal mechanism to reach these goals.


The lab leaders are C. Paar, Bochum and T. Lange, Eindhoven.

VAMPIRE consists of two working groups:

It is an increasingly accepted view that these two areas form the very core of the modern research in applied cryptography. The first Working Group deals with the efficient implementation (e.g., for high-performance applications such as the Internet servers, or extremely lightweight like RFID tags) of cryptographic mechanisms. This topic area ranges from efficient algorithms to design methodologies and design tools. The second working group deals with the physical attacks against security devices. Physical attacks, including side-channel attacks (e.g., deducing a key from a device such as a smart card based on observing the power consumption) or fault injection attacks (e.g., introducing errors in a crypto device) have become a major concern in real-world applications. This is an emerging field with many open research problems. VAMPIRE partners are heavily involved in cutting-edge research in both working groups.

It should be stressed that both working groups work heavily interdisciplinary. For instance, the important topic of countermeasures against physical attacks clearly spans over both working groups. Also, both working groups will have major interaction with other virtual labs. Both STVL and MAYA are highly relevant for VAMPIRE. On the one hand, VAMPIRE can provide valuable input to the two more theory-oriented virtual labs (e.g., about implementational properties of new schemes), and on the other hand these two labs can provide important information for ongoing research in VAMPIRE (e.g., about the security of ciphers with good implementation properties).

Tanja Lange