Advanced cryptography algorithms now in silicon from Atmel

February 18, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Atmel says it is the first company to deliver ultra-secure crypto elements that will enable more secure connected systems. Its ATECC508A is the first device to integrate ECDH (Elliptic Curve Diffie–Hellman) security protocol—an ultra-secure method to provide key agreement for encryption/decryption, along with ECDSA (Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm) sign-verify authentication.

Aiming to secure Internet of Things (IoT) devices including home automation, industrial networking, accessory and consumable authentication, medical, and mobile, the ATECC508A is the second integrated circuit (IC) in the CryptoAuthentication portfolio with advanced Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) capabilities. With ECDH and ECDSA built in, this device is suitable for the rapidly growing IoT market by providing confidentiality, data integrity and authentication in systems with MCU or MPUs running encryption/decryption algorithms (such as AES) in software. Similar to all Atmel CryptoAuthentication products, the ATECC508A employs ultra-secure hardware-based cryptographic key storage and cryptographic countermeasures which are more secure than software-based key storage.

This next-generation CryptoAuthentication device is compatible with any microcontroller or microprocessor on the market today including Atmel | SMART and Atmel AVR MCUs and MPUs. It delivers extremely low-power consumption, requires only a single general purpose I/O over a wide voltage range, and available in a tiny form factor, making it ideal for a variety of applications that require longer battery life and flexible form factors.

Key security features of the ATECC508A include:

· Optimised key storage and authentication

· ECDH operation using stored private key

· ECDSA (elliptic-curve digital signature algorithm) Sign-Verify

· Support for X.509 certificate formats

· 256-bit SHA/HMAC hardware engine

· Multilevel RNG using FIPS SP 800-90A DRBG

· Guaranteed 72-bit unique ID

· I ²C and single-wire interfaces

· 2 to 5.5V operation, 150-nA standby current

· 10.5-kbit EEPROM for secret and private keys

· High Endurance Monotonic Counters

· UDFN, SOIC, and 3-lead contact packages

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