DeepCover Secure Authenticator protects designs with strong public-key cryptography

June 18, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Maxim’s highly integrated authenticator increases security and simplifies interconnect complexity in medical sensors and industrial applications.

Maxim Integrated is sampling the DS28E35 DeepCover Secure Authenticator, a highly secure cryptographic solution for a host controller to authenticate peripherals. The DS28E35 integrates a FIPS 186-based, Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) engine to implement asymmetric (public-key) cryptography to operate a challenge-and-response authentication protocol between a host controller and attached peripherals, sensors, or modules. Operating over a single pin on the 1-Wire interface, the DS28E35 reduces interconnect complexity, simplifies designs, and reduces cost. It provides crypto-strong authentication security for many applications, including medical sensors, industrial programmable logic controller (PLC) modules, and consumer devices.

The use of ECDSA public-key cryptography saves cost and reduces key management complexity by eliminating the need for the host controller to store and protect the authentication key, which is required for comparable symmetric (secret-key) solutions. The DS28E35 operates with a key pair: a public key that resides with the host and an associated private key stored in the DS28E35. As a primary benefit of ECDSA, there is no security requirement to protect the host public key. It is imperative, however, to protect the private key stored in the DS28E35. This is accomplished through Maxim’s DeepCover security technologies, which provide the strongest affordable protection against die-level attacks that attempt to discover the private key. DeepCover technologies include advanced die routing and layout techniques, additional proprietary methods for private key protection, and circuits that actively monitor for tampering.

High levels of integration reduces costs and simplifies designs: features inlcude the ECDSA engine with a 1-Wire interface; nonvolatile (NV) memory; hardware random number generator for signatures and key-pair generation; decrement-only usage counter; and DeepCover invasive-attack protection circuitry. The product is readily adapted to a host-peripheral system where secure authentication is required.

In a 6-pin TSOC package and a 2 x 3 mm 8-pin TDFN-EP package, and specified over the -40 °C to +85 °C temperature range, pricing starts at $1.08 (1000).

Maxim Integrated,