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Hollow Man
Hollow Man

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Tencent Rhino-bird Open-source Training Program 2022 – SunEC sm2p256v1 Key Pairs Generation

For 2022 final result, I passed the final evaluation, obtained all the honor titles (Only 2/4000+ in all participants): Tencent Open Source Contributor Certificate (only issued 30+ around the globe at that time), Intern of Excellence, Task Scholarship.


Task 1


Task 2



Tested computing the signature as well as verifying the signature for comparing between secp256r1 and secp256k1 using SHA256withECDSA with the help of the SunEC provider.

The result clearly shows that secp256r1 has a better performance than secp256k1 with regard to SHA256withECDSA when signing. But secp256r1 has almost the same performance as secp256k1 when verifying.

Benchmark                                 Mode  Cnt     Score    Error  Units
BenchmarkSigning.secp256k1_1024B         thrpt   25  1237.482 ± 30.518  ops/s
BenchmarkSigning.secp256k1_1024K         thrpt   25   318.589 ±  2.656  ops/s
BenchmarkSigning.secp256k1_128B          thrpt   25  1266.561 ± 32.311  ops/s
BenchmarkSigning.secp256k1_256B          thrpt   25  1254.327 ± 36.935  ops/s
BenchmarkSigning.secp256r1_1024B         thrpt   25  1746.453 ± 33.358  ops/s
BenchmarkSigning.secp256r1_1024K         thrpt   25   340.530 ±  3.970  ops/s
BenchmarkSigning.secp256r1_128B          thrpt   25  1763.460 ± 31.179  ops/s
BenchmarkSigning.secp256r1_256B          thrpt   25  1756.899 ± 32.715  ops/s
BenchmarkVerifying.secp256k1_1024B       thrpt   25   486.545 ± 13.410  ops/s
BenchmarkVerifying.secp256k1_1024K       thrpt   25   228.638 ±  2.478  ops/s
BenchmarkVerifying.secp256k1_128B        thrpt   25   491.065 ± 13.948  ops/s
BenchmarkVerifying.secp256k1_256B        thrpt   25   499.466 ±  4.558  ops/s
BenchmarkVerifying.secp256r1_1024B       thrpt   25   402.902 ± 53.489  ops/s
BenchmarkVerifying.secp256r1_1024K       thrpt   25   212.743 ± 23.301  ops/s
BenchmarkVerifying.secp256r1_128B        thrpt   25   401.215 ± 65.401  ops/s
BenchmarkVerifying.secp256r1_256B        thrpt   25   393.021 ± 79.755  ops/s
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Further investigation shows that before secp256k1 was removed from JDK, all the curves seem to be realized by C using the OS library instead of Java.

JDK-8238911 in 2020 reported the weaknesses in the implementation of the native library EC code make it necessary to remove support for future releases. The most common EC curves (secp256r1, secp384r1, and secp521r1) had been re-implemented in Java in the SunEC JCE provider.

After some communications with my mentor Johns Jiang, he tells me that JDK-8181594 introduces the optimized finite field implementations in Java. Previously before that implementation was introduced, pure Java realization was really slow, then we use the OS library to realize all the curves so that the performance can be improved. But now, instead, with the help of that optimized Java library, Java realization takes the advantage and becomes the most efficient one, it's now even comparable with the pure C realization.

Our flame graph also some kind confirms this, as you can see here, the Java Flight Recorder (JFR) can record the secp256r1 methods calling stacks, but it's not the case for secp256k1. So it's likely that secp256r1 has a better performance than secp256k1 for signing since it's fully realized in Java and using that optimized library, thus reduces the calling costs for the OS library. If they are both realized in Java using the optimized method, I guess there should be no difference.

As secp256k1 has already been removed in JDK and now secp256r1 does have a better performance, so I guess here we will have no obvious further room for improvement.

Task 3


The final report (in Chinese) is not limited to the following content, it also includes some more security analysis for different ways of realization.

With modification of SunEC provider


As for Elliptic-curve based cryptography algorithms, the curve parameters are used to generate the keys.
The official recommended curve parameters for SM2 can be seen here:

That curve parameters is also known as sm2p256v1, since it's also a prime curve just like secp256r1, we can use the existing implementation of secp256r1 in the SunEC library to help us realize our implementation.

The OID for sm2p256v1 is

We first fill the curve parameters into the CurveDB

Then add the OID and names.

The most important part is FieldGen. FieldGen is used to automatically generate optimized finite field implementations, which is also the library I mentioned in Task 2 JDK-8181594 for improving Java version's efficiency. We need to generate two fields, Integer Polynomial (corresponds to parameter p) and Order Field (corresponds to parameter n).






00000001 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000
00000000 $2^{224}$


00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 FFFFFFFF FFFFFFFF FFFFFFFF
$2^{96} - 1$


00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 FFFFFFFF FFFFFFFF

$2^{64} - 1$

= $2^{256} - 2^{224} - 2^{96} + 2^{64} - 2^0$

So the Integer Polynomial shall fill just like that. We can copy other parameters from secp256r1 as they are all 256 digit prime curve.

The private keys in Hex can be printed directly with no special format.

Since the public keys in Hex can be compressed, it does have a special format, that if it starts with 04, then the keys are uncompressed and we just then concat the X and Y coordinate together. The compressed ones always start with 02 or 03, and then only the X coordinate is needed. The 02 and 03 is determined by that, when Y coordinate is even, we use 02, use 03 when odd. In addition, we have to also make sure that both X and Y coordinates are 64 in length for Hex.

As the Bouncy Castle library has already fully realized the SM2, to ensure that the generated keys fit the sm2p256v1, I also use the generated keys for signing using SM3withSM2. The validity of the keys can be verified during the signature verification processes, during which we recover the sm2p256v1 elliptic curve point from the Bouncy Castle library based on the Hex format public key. If we use keys generated based on other curves, like secp256r1, error will be thrown.

Demo result:

Public Key (Uncompressed): 040A8FB35CA4761FAAA36B2A24E77EC657D96F74147C50EE2D5B50E3AAFD8304D8CBB65FB2E661D37B7C3B900E1BDBEDE894D9CBB9079E8DD704B9465BFF65EE17
Public Key: 030A8FB35CA4761FAAA36B2A24E77EC657D96F74147C50EE2D5B50E3AAFD8304D8
Private Key: 42756D22960A58D08F9E7E3A0D56D9630D8D051D082F4D2BFCE22FD2653524EB
To sign: How are you?
Signed: MEUCIAgvYgl0ydHwd536MkmwaRuhmkD/klh79VmHEBJI1zCRAiEAo9jNkGM+Tjh/0AmX82nSPOMYgRPaWm6SUXiB63YGAD4=
Verification OK!
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Error thrown when using secp256r1 (faulty key pairs):

Public Key (Uncompressed): 0456A3205C7B47BF303F4B65CDAB5B94C343BE7220E5AAAB001B7263DBCD113B42447A9E41BF1374D4ABC7A2AE31E7441E3EB20D5808CCB7D88BFE4F8F2C9887C3
Public Key: 0356A3205C7B47BF303F4B65CDAB5B94C343BE7220E5AAAB001B7263DBCD113B42
Private Key: A33048CC39925B5D4BA4C34FE846C85D41DA5AABA0CFDE4092A7A4ED716D557
To sign: How are you?
Signed: MEYCIQCktncEmfLbC9rLC1Im9gj/AvZRUIQ5Z1plrq1X0L/5YwIhAOa0JeSoQFnV51kAJsFRY3T4cpCn2O7bKoN+M+nPpv6y
Exception in thread "main" java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: Invalid point coordinates
        at Source)
        at Source)
        at org.sample.SM2Util.verify(
        at org.sample.SM2Util.main(
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JMH Performance test for compressed and uncompressed public key generation result shows that the compressed public keys generation has a better performance than the uncompressed ones. You can find the reason from the flame graph of Java Flight Recorder (JFR), that it's because the uncompressed ones also need to caculate the Y coordinate Hex format, which takes a lot of time.

Benchmark                                         Mode  Cnt       Score       Error  Units
BenchmarkPublicKeys.sm2p256v1_compressed         thrpt   25  1212201.531 ± 248181.084  ops/s
BenchmarkPublicKeys.sm2p256v1_uncompressed       thrpt   25   760033.805 ±  35058.515  ops/s
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Our realization refers to the JavaScript implementation here, Wikipedia Elliptic curve point multiplication and the official documentation .

The homemade one is based on purely mathematical methods, no other dependencies.

We use SecureRandom to generate the private key, we also tried public key generation using the Standard Projective Coordinates and Jacobian Coordinates, as well as the binary expansion and addminus algorithm.

See result for more performance comparisons.

JMH Performance test for compressed and uncompressed public key generation result shows that the uncompressed public keys generation has almost the same performance as the compressed ones. Though it seems like a contradiction, here the uncompressed Y coordinate Hex caculation counts significantly smaller when you take the overall time into consideration.

Benchmark                                         Mode  Cnt       Score       Error  Units
BenchmarkPublicKeys.sm2p256v1_compressed         thrpt   25  786.038 ± 12.099  ops/s
BenchmarkPublicKeys.sm2p256v1_uncompressed       thrpt   25  795.960 ±  8.557  ops/s
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