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Sony's 'CLEFIA' Encryption Technology Adopted as an International Standard

January 26, 2012 - Tokyo

Sony Corporation has been working to standardize 'CLEFIA,' the block cipher algorithm it developed and presented as a state-of-the-art cryptography technique in 2007, and announced today that after final ISO/IEC(1) approval, 'CLEFIA' was adopted as one of the ISO/IEC 29192(20 International Standards in lightweight cryptography.

Information security technology to support safe and secure network access for customers has become indispensable in recent years in light of the increase in the wide range of network enabled devices. In particular, there is focus on lightweight cryptography technology suitable for ensuring the security of devices with low-power consumption requirements or those with limited hardware or memory. Under these circumstances 'CLEFIA' met the requirements of ISO/IEC 29192, as prescribed by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27(3) - the organization responsible for determining the International Standards for information security.

'CLEFIA' has the same interface as the US government's Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). This block cipher has a block length of 128 bits, while key length can be selected from 128 bits, 192 bits or 256 bits. The most impressive feature of 'CLEFIA' is its realization of implementation efficiency while maintaining a high level of security. The development of 'CLEFIA' maintains superior security based on the latest block cipher design theory. Furthermore, 'CLEFIA' adopts the general Feistel structure(4), which is suited for implementation in constrained environments. Also, the 'Diffusion Switching Mechanism' (DSM) is employed to reduce processing operations whilst ensuring security. In addition, components for data processing and key scheduling part are shared. These improvements have made it possible to achieve efficient implementations in hardware and software, which had been difficult with conventional encryption technologies.

This excellent implementation efficiency enables 'CLEFIA' to demonstrate high performance in devices with limited resources or those with low-power consumption requirements. Accordingly, CLEFIA is suited for lightweight cryptographic applications as indicated in ISO/IEC 29192 in smartcards, RFID tags, sensor networks, medical devices and more, in addition to conventional applications.

Having been recognized as an ISO/IEC International Standard on this occasion, Sony will strive to expand the application of 'CLEFIA' in a variety of devices and services. Furthermore, Sony will continue its research and development in the field of lightweight cryptography, in which further progress is anticipated(5).

Through its efforts, Sony will continue to be involved in delivering information security technology that customers can use safely and with confidence.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization)
IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission)
(2) ISO/IEC 29192-2
ISO/IEC 29192-2, Information technology − Security techniques − Lightweight cryptography − Part 2: Block ciphers
(3) ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27
ISO/IEC JTC 1 is the organization responsible for the standardization of Information Technology (IT) at the Joint Technical Committee 1 of ISO and IEC. Under the umbrella of this committee are SubCommittees (SCs) for each field. The SC in charge of the standardization of information security is SC27.
(4) Generalized Feistel structure
The Feistel structure is a construction method for block ciphers. It has been used in many block ciphers since its adoption by the former US government's Data Encryption Standard (DES). The generalized Feistel structure is a generalized version of the aforementioned structure. CLEFIA uses a structure that divides input into 4 branches and performs calculations between each of these branches. The small size of the calculation unit lends itself well to compact implementation.
(5) The latest result was presented at Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems 2011 (CHES 2011), an international conference held by the International Association of Cryptologic Research (IACR). CHES is a conference for discussing the results of research related to the implementation of cryptographic technologies.

About Sony

Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, game, communications, key device and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and on-line businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be the leading electronics and entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $87 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011. Sony Global Web Site:

Source: Sony


Sony Corporation
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