SHARCS - Special-purpose Hardware for Attacking Cryptographic Systems

The SHARCS Workshop is the first open meeting ever devoted entirely to the challenging subject of special-purpose cryptanalytical machines.

Much of the earlier work in this area was done on key searches for symmetric-key algorithms, with a particular emphasis on attacks against DES. More recently there has been interest in hardware architectures for sieving methods for attacking the RSA scheme. However, it seems that much work 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 on implementational issues such as:

The ultimate objective of SHARCS is to determine whether special purpose hardware poses a real threat for today's cryptographic algorithms, and whether there are advantages over software-based attacks. 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.

The workshop will consist of invited keynote presentations and some contributed presentations. We welcome submissions of extended abstracts (at least 3 pages.) We would like to stress that we do not aim at receiving contributions on side channel attacks nor on attacks carried out on conventional computer platforms with conventional attack algorithms. Furthermore, at this point we exclude quantum cryptologic devices. Theoretical papers analyzing the feasibility and costs of attacks using specialized hardware are, however, very much welcomed.

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

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:

Important dates:

January 3, 2005: submission of abstractsclosed
January 24, 2005: notification of acceptance or rejection
February 10, 2005: revised version of accepted papers
February 24 & 25, 2005: SHARCS workshop

Invited Speaker:

So far the following speakers have confirmed giving an invited talk:

The dates were chosen to have SHARCS just after Fast Software Encryption (FSE) 2005 which runs from February 21-23. Furthermore, SHARCS will be held in ENSTA, the same location that is used for FSE.

Program Committee:


For further information please contact


SHARCS is organized within ECRYPT - European Network of Excellence for Cryptology. We aknowledge the support by the European Commission under the IST program, IST-2002-507932.


ENSTA We thank ENSTA for local support and good cooperation.
HGI We acknowledge organizational support from the Horst Görtz Institute for IT-Security.
DTU We acknowledge organizational support from Department of Mathematics, Technical University of Denmark.

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