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McBits on STM32f407

A master thesis project from Marcel van der Made for the Radboud University

File structure

*hostside/ contains Python scripts to communicate with the board *inc/ contains the header and data files of the improved McBits for the Cortex M4 *inc_original/ contains the header and data files of the orginal McBits implementation on *libopencm3/ contains firmware libraries *original/ contains the source files of the orginal McBits implementation *speed/ contains the source files of the improved McBits implementation with assembly Karatsuba multiplication


This code assumes you have the arm-none-eabi toolchain installed and accessible. Confusingly, the tools available in the (discontinued) embedian project have identical names - be careful to select the correct toolchain (or consider re-installing if you experience unexpected behaviour). On most Linux systems, the correct toolchain gets installed when you install the arm-none-eabi-gcc package.

This project relies on the libopencm3 firmware. This is included as a submodule. Compile it by calling make libcm3 in the src folder, before attempting to compile any of the other targets.

Binaries can be compiled by calling e.g. make mcBits.bin in the original/ folder. Binaries can then be flashed onto the boards using stlink, as follows: st-flash write mcBits.bin 0x8000000. These steps are also performed by calling the load script in each implementation folder.

The host-side Python code requires the pyserial module. Your package repository might offer python-serial or python-pyserial directly (as of writing, this is the case for Ubuntu, Debian and Arch). Alternatively, this can be easily installed from PyPA by calling pip install pyserial (or pip3, depending on your system). If you do not have pip installed yet, you can typically find it as python3-pip using your package manager.


Enter the folder of the implementation you want to run, and run ./ This builds the program and loads it on the board. In the hostside folder, run ./ with admin rights to receive data from the discovery board. Press the reset button on the board to restart the program. On decryption failure, the hostside program will print that the decryption failed. If succesful, only the cycle coutnts are printed.


At some point the boards might behave differently than one would expect, to a point where simply power-cycling the board does not help. In these cases, it is useful to be aware of a few trouble-shooting steps.

First, check if all the cables are attached properly. For the boards supported in this repository, connect TX to PA3, RX to PA2 and GND to GND. Power is typically supplied using the mini-USB connector that is also used to flash code onto the board.

If the code in this repository does not appear to work correctly after flashing it on to the board, try pressing the RST button (optionally followed by re-flashing).

If you cannot flash new code onto the board, but are instead confronted with WARN src/stlink-common.c: unknown chip id!, try shorting the BOOT0 and VDD pins and pressing RST. This selects the DFU bootloader. After that, optionally use st-flash erase before re-flashing the board.

If you cannot flash the code onto the board, and instead get Error: Data length doesn't have a 32 bit alignment: +2 byte., make sure you are using a version of stlink for which this issue has been resolved. This affected L0 and L1 boards.


McBits software optimized for the Arm Cortex M4







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