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Embedded security solution uses bidirectional authentication

25 Sep 2013  | Paul Buckley

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Maxim Integrated Products recently debuted the DeepCover Secure Authenticator (DS28C22), a highly secure cryptographic solution for a host controller to authenticate peripherals or embedded designs.

Using multiple layers of advanced physical security, DeepCover embedded security solutions protects sensitive data and provides highly secure storage of the authentication secret keys. The DS28C22 also employs an FIPS 180 based SHA-256 authentication algorithm, and combines crypto-strong, bidirectional, secure challenge-and-response authentication with small message encryption.

Through bidirectional authentication, the host and the peripheral authenticate one another, protecting the IP in the peripheral from a non-authentic host trying to modify operation of the peripheral. The DS28C22 enables unprecedented security for many applications, including peripherals/disposables, sensors, network equipment, IP licensing, and industrial applications like programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

Robust security protects IP from being compromised by counterfeiters or hackers because a bidirectional security model enables two-way authentication and encryption between a host system and slave-embedded DS28C22. Strong die-level protection securely stores the authentication key.

The solution includes 3K bits of user memory with four user-programmable modes of protection; SHA-256 option enables customers to securely control end-product features through data settings.

Maxim's optional DS28C22 preprogramming service prevents supply chain venders from compromising a solution; ensures no exposure of cryptographic keys. The DS28C22 also includes a dedicated hardware-accelerated engine for SHA computations.

Secure Authenticator

Diagram for the Deep Cover Secure Authenticator.

"We have 20 years of R&D experience thwarting invasive attacks," said Scott Jones, Executive Director at Maxim Integrated. "By using multiple layers of security and SHA-256, we give designers real peace of mind that their data is safe."

"Device manufacturers must secure their equipment to allow access only to authorised users. Symmetric cryptography is now commonly used to ensure system security, but keeping that symmetric cryptographic key secure is the most critical component of the implementation," said Colin Barnden, Principal Analyst at Semicast Research.

The DS28C22 DeepCover Secure Authenticator is available in an 8-pin TDFN package. Specified over the -40°C to 85°C temperature range.

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