#s2n #quic #crypto


Internal crate used by s2n-quic

13 releases (breaking)

Uses new Rust 2021

new 0.10.2 Sep 30, 2022
0.10.0 Aug 17, 2022
0.8.0 Jul 21, 2022
0.1.0 Mar 29, 2022

#141 in Cryptography

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383 downloads per month
Used in 6 crates (2 directly)


38K SLoC


This crate contains QUIC-optimized versions of cryptographic AEAD routines for high efficiency and performance.

WARNING: This is not meant to be for general use outside of s2n-quic. There are no guarantees of a stable interface.

Navigating the code

The code in this crate is defined in several layers of abstraction, which allow the upper layers to define algorithms in a very high level with very little unsafe code. Starting from the lowest level going up, the crate is composed of several modules:


Architecture-specific intrinsics enable Rust to execute special CPU instructions optimized for cryptography. This module selects the target architecture and exports the available intrinsics. However, this doesn't mean that the final CPU will actually support the instructions and executing the code will result in an Illegal instruction error. This means we must probe for instruction support at runtime to make it easy for applications to get the most optimized version of the code. In Rust/x86 this is accomplished with the is_x86_feature_detected! macro and the target_feature attribute.


Blocks define the unit of operation for block ciphers. In the case of AES, GHash, and AES-GCM this is a 128-bit value. Blocks can be operated on in "batches", which are arrays of blocks. This concept enables CPUs to look ahead of the program counter and perform computation in parallel. The batch size for AES-GCM in AWS-LC is 6. After benchmarking several batch sizes in this code base (4, 6, and 8), this library has also selected 6 as a default.


This module contains AES implementations for each of the supported platforms. Both AES-128 and AES-256 are supported. Each implementation is generic over the Encrypt and Decrypt traits, making it easy to write generic code over the various key sizes. The AES traits also allow for interleaving instructions between rounds, which enables CPUs to perform multiple types of computation in parallel. This feature is used extensively in AES-GCM, as AES and GHash operations are performed in lockstep.

The AES implementations for x86 are a direct port of the AWS-LC code, as that implementation has been heavily optimized over the years. Since the aes instruction set performs most of the heavy lifting, there isn't really any further optimization that can be done.


This module contains GHash implementations for each of the supported platforms. Each implementation is generic over the GHash trait, allowing usage to be decoupled from the implementation. This enables us to experiment with various optimizations in the GHash implementation.

On x86, there are 3 implementations of the GHash algorithm: std, pre_h, and pre_hr. The std implementation is the same you would find in AWS-LC. The pre_h and pre_hr, however, work quite a bit differently. Instead of calling gf_mul for each block update, all of the powers of H, up to the maximum input size, are precomputed at key time and only at the end of the digest is a reduction performed. This allows applications to make tradeoffs between memory and CPU efficiency. pre_hr takes it a bit further and precomputes the r value as well, which doubles the required memory. However, after benchmarking the two options, this seems to make very little difference, if any.

The precomputed modes allow for statically and dynamically defined sizes. The dynamic mode enables applications to "upgrade" the efficiency of a key after deciding it's going to be worth the memory footprint.


This module aims to provide a generic, platform-independent implementation of the AES-GCM mode. This means it uses all of the previously-defined traits to construct its implementation. It's also generic over the batch size and can be defined on type instantiation.

In theory, this means that adding platform support only requires implementing the AES and GHash traits. In practice, it may not hold true as there only exists a x86 implementation.


This module contains all of the support functionality for testing implementations. Since it isn't entirely known if an implementation will be supported by the CPU until runtime, each module has a implementations function that returns all of the supported implementations by the runtime. This allows the caller to iterate over all of the implementations of a particular algorithm, and perform operations and make assertions.

Each module has a test_vector test, which uses well-known inputs and asserts that the outputs match expectations.

Each module also has a differential_test test, which uses bolero to generate keys, payloads, nonces, etc. and compares outputs to several well-known implementations (currently ring and RustCrypto). It also asserts that decrypting the payload results in the original plaintext. This allows us to quickly identify/prevent any differences in functionality.

There are also criterion benchmarks for each of the implementations. This provides a report of each of the outcomes and ensures performance is maintained across commits.


~218K SLoC