Secure microcontroller brings smart card security to device authentication

February 14, 2011 // By Paul Buckley
NXP Semiconductors N.V. has introduced the au10tic family of secure ICs designed specifically for device authentication. The au10tic secure microcontrollers are based on NXP's proven security technology, which has been widely used for securing government ID cards and passports, as well as smart cards for banking and other high-security applications.

Offering easy integration into end devices, the NXP au10tic ICs provide a complete tamper-resistant security solution including key generation and programming services, as well as the option for remote management of applications and credentials running on the secure MCU.

The NXP au10tic family of secure ICs can be used for counterfeit protection; for authentication of devices and users accessing secure content and services; and for device identification to enable secure machine-to-machine communication. The authentication chips can be easily integrated into a wide range of consumer products, ranging from smartphones, laptops and tablets to game consoles and electronic accessories.  Other end applications that can benefit from au10tic include ICT infrastructure, industrial equipment, medical devices, and appliances and devices in the Smart Grid.

Using au10tic, brand owners can prevent revenue loss from counterfeiting; enhance their customers' brand experience as they use genuine products; and protect software content and services against unauthorized use and distribution. Consumers can be confident in the authenticity and safety of au10tic-protected products they purchase, as well as the privacy of sensitive data transmitted from and shared between devices.

Using state-of-the-art Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) algorithms such as RSA and ECC, the au10tic A7001 enables key management schemes where the secret key never leaves the security IC and is not part of the host software, and also supports symmetric algorithms such as 3DES and AES. In addition, the NXP au10tic A7001 security IC has built-in hardware tamper resistance to protect the secret key from physical attacks.

The au10tic A7001 is a secure microcontroller running the JavaOS, along with an industry standard X.509 certificate-based security application for convenient and easy integration into end devices. For design engineers, the JavaOS also allows rapid application development and customization. The au10tic A7001 solution features a standard I2C interface enabling integration into virtually all electronic devices, as well as 80 KB EEPROM for secure storage.


Engineering samples of the NXP au10tic A7001