FPGA cores support cryptography with strong DPA countermeasures

October 23, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Produced by a collaboration between Microsemi and Athena Group – a provider of security, cryptography, anti-tamper and signal processing intellectual property (IP) cores – anti-tamper security microprocessor technology is available as soft intellectual property for SmartFusion2 and IGLOO2 FPGAs

The portfolio of IP cores offers side channel analysis (SCA) and differential power analysis (DPA) countermeasures. The new portfolio, based on Athena's TeraFire cryptographic microprocessor family, is designed for users of Microsemi's SmartFusion2 system-on-chip (SoC) field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and IGLOO2 FPGAs.

"DPA countermeasures are critical to any tamper-resistant system," said Paul Quintana, director of vertical marketing, Microsemi Defense, Security and Computing. "As threat vectors increase in sophistication, so must the security solutions. Microsemi customers are looking for the most robust and proven anti-tamper and information assurance capabilities for their products. Athena is now delivering its best-of-breed family of silicon-proven security products as soft IP for license on the industry's only DPA-resistant FPGAs certified by Rambus Cryptography Research, SmartFusion2 and IGLOO2."

Athena's DPA countermeasure solutions deliver resistance to side channel monitoring attacks across a broad range of standard cryptographic algorithms and performance levels used for embedded applications in markets including defence, communications and industrial. These silicon-proven cores have been recently enhanced to resist SCA/DPA attacks up to 1 billion traces and can be optimised for size, speed and security level based on engineering requirements. As select SmartFusion2 and IGLOO2 FPGAs are the only FPGAs already licensed for Rambus Cryptography Research's DPA patent portfolio, no additional licence is required from Rambus Cryptography Research for use of the Athena IP cores with the licensed Microsemi FPGAs.

"Partnering with Microsemi, a leader in highly secure, low-power FPGAs, to offer SmartFusion2 and IGLOO2 customers the most robust countermeasures available, has been groundbreaking," said Stuart Audley, director of engineering at Athena. "To give Microsemi customers confidence that they are deploying IP with effective countermeasures, Athena has pushed the limits of test vector leakage assessment (TVLA) testing of our DPA solutions. We have demonstrated through measurements and statistical analysis that even after a billion traces, leakage is effectively minimised."

Microsemi's SmartFusion2 and IGLOO2 DPA-resistant FPGAs deliver design security and protection for the IP embodied within