NXP Strengthens SmartMX2 Security Chips with PUF Anti-Cloning Technology

21st February 2013
ES Admin
NXP Semiconductors today announced that it will be the first company to bring to market smartcard and embedded secure element chips that integrate Intrinsic-ID’s industry-leading PUF (Physically Unclonable Function) technology.
PUFs are an innovative way of safeguarding individual chips from data theft by using the unique ‘fingerprint’ inherent in every semiconductor device to protect its encryption key, making it very hard to clone and thus reverse-engineer and compromise security microcontrollers.

Global trends such as urbanization, digitization of governmental documents, improved banking security and growing NFC adoption means that security chips are being adopted more than ever to protect user data, credentials and finances. In parallel, more sophisticated attacks have been developed that attempt to undermine security chip functionality and steal this information. By integrating Intrinsic ID’s PUF technology into its secure microcontroller SmartMX, NXP significantly enhances the chip’s security architecture and strengthens applications such as NFC-enabled mobile payment, electronic ticketing, and eGovernment and cyber security services.“Concerns about smartcard security have increased with the wide availability of sophisticated tools and invasive techniques to discover the secrets and keys that traditionally protect devices from counterfeiting, tampering and theft-of-data,” said Pim Tuyls, CEO at Intrinsic-ID. “We believe that our PUF technology is ideally suited to helping to overcome this problem, particularly when combined with NXP’s industry-leading secure IC solutions.”“The use of smartcard and smartcard-type functionality in NFC-enabled phones is becoming increasingly popular around the world. But for many users, security doubts still linger - providing the highest level of security for eID cards, banking cards or NFC smart phones is thus essential,” said Ruediger Stroh, EVP and general manager, Identification business with NXP Semiconductors. “Adding PUF technology to SmartMX2 chips helps to alleviate user doubts as we bring more security and trust to smart life solutions and provide our customers with a key competitive edge. As such, we’re very happy to have entered into this contract with Intrinsic-ID, the undisputed leader in PUF.”

SmartMX and PUF technology
Intrinsic-ID’s PUF technology is currently being integrated into future generations of SmartMX2 security chips. The SmartMX2 is the world’s first security microcontroller with a Common Criteria EAL 6+ certificate issued by the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). Its IntegralSecurity architecture comes with more than 100 different security features protecting it against reverse engineering, semi-invasive and non-invasive attacks. Adding PUF technology significantly improves the chip’s protection from reverse engineering attacks, as it removes the permanent presence of the digital encryption key on the device. PUFs rely on the physical characteristics of SRAM (static random-access memory) technology. After powering up a secure element, the used cells are initialized randomly. This start-up behavior – bits toggling between zero or one – is different for every individual chip. As such, this content after start-up can serve as a unique fingerprint, which can then be used as a key to protect an encryption key or to protect a memory. NXP is the No. 1 supplier to the Identification market globally, and leverages its leadership in contactless and security technologies to provide complete Identification solutions. Its trusted smart life solutions bring security and contactless performance to a wide range of applications such as eGovernment, banking, mobile transactions, transport ticketing, access management, infrastructure, device authentication, RFID tagging and gaming.

NXP has shipped almost two billion SmartMX chips to its customers including 86 out of 102 countries with ePassport projects.Visitors to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (Feb 25 - 28) can experience NXP’s Trusted Mobile Smart Life Solutions at Hall 7 A111. Together with Intrinsic-ID, NXP will demonstrate PUF technology on a SmartMX2 test chip with Intrinsic ID’s SESAMES-award winning SATURNUS secure cloud application.

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