RISC-V processor licensor Codasip GmbH (Munich, Germany) has signed an exclusive deal with hardware security startup Verilock Inc. (Estes Park, Colo.) to provide security technology to its ASIC customers.
Verilock was founded in 2021 to commercialize R&D conducted between Ohio State University and Potomac Research LLC in the field of dynamic chaotic networks. The company provides an authentication solution based on a technology called Entropy Extraction Device (EED).
Potomac Research LLC and the Ohio State University received three SBIR grants from the US government between 2018 and 2021 under the title Provably Unclonable Functions on Re-configurable Devices.
Under these contracts they developed the Hybrid Boolean Network Physical Unclonable Function (HBN-PUF) technology with enhanced security and performance attributes compared to existing hardware authentication proposals. The HBN-PUF was applied as a firmware upgrade to FPGA processor cores to provide additional cybersecurity hardening for DoD applications.
EED hardware at root
Codasip said it will work with Verilock to implement multiple security functions such as device authentication, firmware signing, original content provenance, and one-time pad encryption based on EED. The technology makes use of chaos within networks to produce unique information that can be applied to create a high-level of security.
Data encryption based on random cryptographic key generation is already a fundamental part of hardware security although true random number generation is hard to generate in silicon. This opens systems up to side-channel attack particular when ML/AI and quantum computing are applied.
Brett Cline, chief commercial officer at Codasip, commented: “The semiconductor industry needs authentication solutions infused into the hardware. We also need this technology to be sophisticated enough to stay a step ahead of the bad actors. This is exactly what the ingenious team at Verilock has developed. Through our collaboration, we can provide a unique, future-proof, and flexible approach.”
Jim Northup, CEO at Verilock, said: “Current security solutions with hardware at their root have one or a handful of root keys or identifiers. This can be compromised by a motivated adversary using physical or machine learning-driven side-channel attacks. We have reinvented hardware authentication by leveraging chaotic networks. The result is truly quantum-safe systems with new possibilities for flexible and custom implementation.”