Plug-and-play crypto chip debuts for host-side security - Embedded.com

Plug-and-play crypto chip debuts for host-side security

San Jose, Calif.—Atmel Corp. has released its CryptoCompanion chip, providing plug-and-play host-side cryptographic security for embedded systems that are prone to counterfeiting, firmware theft and the violation of licensing agreements.

This plug-and-play convenience means that designers do not have to design or test the cryptographic algorithms. Systems likely to fall victim to counterfeiting schemes include printers and printer cartridges, appliances with smart batteries, set top boxes, video game consoles, video game cartridges, PDAs, GPS, and any system with proprietary algorithms or secrets.

According to Atmel, when its CryptoCompanion is used with its CryptoMemory and CryptoRF devices, it provides a highly secure, hardware-based total solution for less than half the cost of complex microprocessors.

Atmel's AT88SC016 CryptoCompanion chip implements host algorithms and securely stores and manages the host secrets required for secure communications. It integrates hardware cryptographic engines, a cryptographic quality hardware random number generator, and securely manages up to 16 host keys. The CryptoCompanion executes all host-side operations including mutual authentication, data encryption, firmware integrity verification, and generation of Message Authentication Codes (MAC) for secure communication. Using the CryptoCompanion chip, system developers do not need any knowledge of how to implement cryptographic algorithms in order to develop complete secure applications using CryptoMemory or CryptoRF.

This chip can also be used to create and manage up to 16 different memory sectors on Crypto devices, each of which can have different levels of read/write access with individual encryption and authentication keys and passwords. CryptoMemory and CryptoRF have encryption keys and algorithms that are completely inaccessible and, therefore, cannot be stolen or copied.

Atmel's AT88SC016 CryptoCompanion chip is available in standard 8-pin SOIC packages and supports a 2-wire interface.

Pricing: In 25,000-unit volumes, the AT88SC016 CryptoCompanion chip costs 50 cents, and the CryptoMemory and CryptoRF devices are priced from 30 cents and 75 cents, respectively.
Availability: Volume production.
Product information: Click here.

Atmel Corp., www.atmel.com

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