SHARCS'09 - Special-purpose Hardware for Attacking Cryptographic Systems

Note on dates: The workshop takes place directly after CHES 2009 which is also held at EFPL in Lausanne. It will be possible to attend both workshops in succession.

SHARCS'09 is the fourth workshop dedicated to the challenging subject of special-purpose cryptanalytical devices. This field is still a very young one (at least outside government agencies). In addition to key search machines à la Deep Crack and COPACOBANA, we are in particular interested in the interaction between cryptanalytical algorithms and computer hardware and in exploiting alternative computation platforms such as Playstation-3 and graphics processing units which offer interesting price/performance tradeoffs. Much work in this area remains to be done including, for instance, special purpose hardware crackers for:

In addition to algorithmic issues, it is also the workshop's goal to make advances in computer hardware issues such as:

There are three main objectives for SHARCS:

  1. to determine whether special purpose hardware poses a real threat for today's cryptographic algorithms,
  2. to determine reliable security estimates and explicit strength comparisons for today's "best-practice" algorithms (i.e., how long are RSA1024 or ECC160 "secure"; how many bits of security does one really get when using RSA2048) and
  3. to advance the knowledge in cryptanalysis in general.
Since this is an intrinsically interdisciplinary subject, it is hoped that the workshop can bring together researchers with different backgrounds for discussing and advancing this exciting field. At SHARCS, submitted contributions are presented together with invited talks from world leading experts.


The workshop will consist of invited presentations and contributed talks. We welcome submissions of extended abstracts. Papers analyzing algorithms, hardware architectures, new technologies and costs of attacks using specialized hardware, high-performance computers, or alternative computation platforms are very much welcomed. We would like to stress that we do not aim at receiving contributions on side channel attacks.
There will be no formal proceedings, but a handout with papers will be provided to all participants. (This approach avoids submissions to SHARCS from conflicting with submissions to forthcoming conferences with proceedings.)
The submission server is located at

Invited Speakers:

SHARCS'09 will feature the following invited talks:


The workshop is organized by the European Network of Excellence (ECRYPT II). The workshop is an activity of ECRYPT's VAMPIRE - Virtual Application and Implementation Research Lab.

Workshop venue and accommodation:

SHARCS'09 takes place in Lausanne, Switzerland, September 09-10, 2009 at EPFL. The workshop takes place directly after CHES 2009 which is also held at EFPL in Lausanne. It will be possible to attend both workshops in succession.
The conference will end on Thursday no later than 6pm.
For travel information and hotel suggestions please consult the corresponding page of the CHES workshop. Note that most block reservations for the hotels expire soon, so make sure to book your accommodation.

The Workshop will take place in ELA 1 at EPFL.

To get to EPFL from the city centre, it is easiest to take the metro, line M1. Time tables for the metro can be found here.

A route description from the metro stop can be found here.

Lunches and coffee breaks will be just in front of the lecture room. The conference dinner will be in Restaurant Le Corbusier in the SG building (the venue for CHES). A rough route description from the lecture room can be found here. (A slightly more realistic route is given by switching from pedestrian to disabled.)

Computer access:

Participants will be able to access the internet from their own laptops through wifi. The workshop will not provide computers.
Attention: Note that Swiss plugs are different from other European plugs. In particular "Schuko" plugs do not fit. Make sure to get an adapter in time.


Registration is closed. The registration fee is 210 CHF; this includes lecture material, coffee breaks, dinner on Wednesday, and lunch on Thursday.
PhD students from European institutions can apply for stipends. Priority will be given to authors of accepted papers. To apply for a stipend send your CV and a short letter of motivation to Martijn Stam at martijn dot stam at epfl dot ch. Deadline is July 27. If you apply for a stipend please do NOT register yet. If your application is successful the conference fee will be waived. Students from ECRYPT core partners cannot get a stipend.

Call for papers:

There will be no formal proceedings, but a handout with abstracts will be provided to all participants. (This avoids submissions to SHARCS from conflicting with submissions to forthcoming conferences with proceedings).

Call for contributions: SHARCS_CFP_09.txt

Important dates:

May 09, 2009: submission of abstracts
May 16, 2009: submission of full papers (deadline 23:59 in UTC -12)
July 06, 2009: notification of acceptance or rejection
August 19, 2009: revised version of accepted papers due
September 9-10, 2009: SHARCS workshop in Lausanne

Note that no new papers will be accepted after the submission of abstracts deadline (May 09); it is still possible to modify the submission until May 16 and that for the avoidance of doubt and complaints we interpret May 16 as 23:59 in UTC -12.
The submission should start with a title, a list of the authors together with their affiliations and a short abstract describing the content of the paper. This should be followed by an extended abstract of at least 3 and at most 20 pages including appendices. The authors of accepted papers must guarantee to present their paper at the workshop.

The participants reveived a booklet containing all accepted papers. It is now available for download. There is a more recent version of Efficient FPGA Implementations of High-Dimensional Cube Testers on the Stream Cipher Grain-128. List of accepted papers for SHARCS'09

Program Committee:


For further information please contact


SHARCS is organized within ECRYPT - European Network of Excellence for Cryptology. We acknowledge the support by the European Commission under the ICT program, ICT-2007-216646.

Local organizer: Martijn Stam (EPFL, Switzerland)


EPFL We acknowledge organizational support from the Laboratory for cryptologic algorithms, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.
EiPSI We acknowledge organizational support from Eiψ - the Eindhoven Institute for the Protection of Systems and Information, at Technische Universiteit Eindhoven.

Past SHARCS workshops:

The first workshop took place 2005 in Paris, SHARCS'06 took place in Cologne, and SHARCS'07 took place in Vienna. All three workshops attracted participants from industry, academia and government organizations.

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