Quantum security IP certified to PSA level 2

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Quantum security technology developed by Crypto Quantique in London has been certified as PSA Certified Level 2 Ready.

The QDID quantum-driven semiconductor IP was certified by Riscure, a software and hardware security evaluation vendor specializing in chip, embedded and mobile devices for the key standard. PSA is a global, collaborative security program that includes semiconductor IP provider ARM.

“We found the QDID technology, which can be incorporated in chips to provide secure generation and storage of chip-unique values, to be sufficiently robust to earn the PSA Certified Level 2 Ready status,” said Bernie Rietkerken, senior sales and business development manager at Riscure in the Netherlands.

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The PSA Certified Level 2 Ready scheme enabled Crypto Quantique to carry out penetration testing on a subset of the PSA Certified Level 2 security requirements, showcasing to chip vendors that its QDID technology meets some of the PSA Certified Level 2 requirements. This allows chip makers to take the pre-certification and use it in a full PSA Certified Level 2 certification.

Back in June, the IP was certified to EAL4+ security standard by e-shard, based in Bordeaux, France.

There are different elements to PSA Certified security evaluation which looks to certify security credentials for chips, software, Root-of-Trust (RoT) components and devices. At PSA Certified Level 2 and PSA Certified Level 3, the focus is on the PSA-RoT which is provided by silicon vendors. PSA Certified Level 2 Ready is built for companies who provide a sub-set of the full PSA-RoT security requirements.

The QDID IP is a dedicated physical unclonable function (PUF) used in standard CMOS processes. It supports a full PSA-RoT supplied by chip vendors by exploiting the femto-currents caused by random quantum tunnelling of electrons through the oxide layer of chips to generate random numbers, or seeds. The seeds are then used to produce, unique, uncorrelated and unclonable identities and cryptographic keys on demand.

Because these identities and keys are produced within the device itself and do not need to be stored in memory or injected from external sources, they are inherently more secure than those produced by alternative technologies. The second-generation PUF technology is also by far the most economical, requiring only minimal silicon area to generate multiple keys and eliminating the need for expensive on-chip peripherals such as secure memory.

“This certification is further proof that our quantum-driven, second-generation PUF technology underpins the ultimate security for microcontrollers, application-specific semiconductors, and the IoT devices in which they are used,” said Shahram Mossayebi, CEO of Crypto Quantique (above). “As semiconductor manufacturers seek to raise their game with respect to security, QDID is now the clear front-runner in terms of performance and cost.”

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