Elliptic curve asymmetric key authentication solutions from Atmel

June 25, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Expanding its CryptoAuthentication Portfolio, a cost-optimised ATECC108 solution offers lower bill of material by delivering an easy-to-use one-chip security solution that is suitable for consumer, medical, industrial and automation applications.

Atmel’s ATECC108 solution delivers advanced security features to support some of the latest security standards from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) including the P256, B283 and K283 elliptical curves, and FIPS 186-3 elliptical curve digital signature algorithm. The easy-to-use solution also delivers up to 8.5 kb EEPROM, allowing storage for up to 16 keys, a unique 72-bit serial number and a FIPS standard-based random number generator. The combined features make the ATECC108 solution suitable for consumer electronics, consumables, medical devices, industrial, automation and IP licensing applications that require increased security controls when communicating with other devices or to the Internet.

The ATECC108 authenticates system accessories, consumables and spare parts. Through authentication, the manufacturer can ensure their revenue stream and product quality are protected by only allowing OEM-authorised accessories to work with their equipment. This device also delivers an overall lower bill of material (BOM) by only requiring one security chip on the accessory side without the need to protect the key storage on the host system side since the host only needs to store a public key. The device is easy to design in and in many cases will require nothing more than a software upgrade on the host system.

According to the NSA, “New techniques have been developed which offer both better performance and higher security than first generation public key techniques. The best assured group of new public key techniques is built on the arithmetic of elliptic curves. [As one] scales security upwards over time to meet the evolving threat posed by eavesdroppers and hackers with access to greater computing resources, elliptic curves begin to offer dramatic savings over the old, first generation techniques.”

“In this increasingly connected world, wireless communication is becoming more prevalent making security a very important feature in every design,” said Kerry Maletsky, Director of Security Solutions, Atmel Corporation. “There are two fundamental security encryption technologies, symmetric and asymmetric, with the