Atmel Prevents Cloning, Counterfeiting with CryptoMemory

Atmel® Corporation (NASDAQ:ATML), announced the world’s first family of secure products called CryptoMemory®. These devices provide the only low-cost, truly secure means of preventing product counterfeiting and/or piracy of Intellectual Property (IP) and OEM parts. CryptoMemory uses a 64-bit embedded hardware encryption engine, four sets of non-readable, 64-bit authentication keys and four sets of non-readable, 64-bit session encryption keys to provide a higher level of protection than products based solely on EEPROM technology.

Product Counterfeiting is a $600 Billion Industry. EEPROM-based “electronic labels” are increasingly used to protect high-value products that include fashion accessories, athletic equipment and prescription drugs. However, product counterfeiters have become quite sophisticated at decoding and cloning EEPROM-based electronic labels and using them on fake products. Even the most secure EEPROMs can be copied easily using a sub-$100 EEPROM reader. The copied contents, including SHA-1 digests and encrypted passwords, can then be written to blank EEPROMs to create a seemingly valid electronic label. The host reader will see these copies as authentic passwords or SHA-1 digests, even if they are encrypted. They have no way of knowing they are copies, making this form of protection very easy to defeat.

CryptoMemory has Secure Dynamic Mutual Authentication. Every time a transaction occurs, a CryptoMemory uses its “secret” authentication keys and a random number to generate a unique 64-bit session encryption key, and a unique 56-bit highly encrypted identity, called a cryptogram. “Cracking” the CryptoMemory is of no use in creating clones because new cryptograms are created for every transaction. The old one won’t work any more.

Once the authentication keys and session encryption keys are written to the device, fuse bits are blown to permanently lock the security information in the device. The keys can never be read – not even by the owner or the silicon manufacturer. The “secret” keys remain secret.

Multiple Sectors with Configurable Access. CryptoMemory devices are available in densities from 1 Kbit to 256 Kbits of user memory to accommodate a wide range of information storage and cost requirements. The user memory itself may be divided into as many as 16 separate sections, each of which can be customized to allow different levels of read and write access.

Design Kit and Library Available Now. Atmel offers a CryptoMemory design kit with a library of simple API calls that execute the most complex host operations. The development library is delivered as a highly decoupled binary cryptographic core, and a source code interface for easy integration.

Memory Densities and Packaging. CryptoMemory devices are available now in memory densities of 1-Kbit up to 256-Kbits, with support for two-wire interface (TWI), and ISO 7816-3 interface in T=0 Mode. Package options include 8-lead SOIC or PDIP plastic packages with support for TWI, modules for smartcard applications with support for both TWI and ISO 7816-3, and thinned wafers.

Atmel’s Security System Solutions. also include biometric sensors, secure RFID, secure memories for smart cards and embedded applications, secure processors, and secure smart card reader ICs. Atmel has the broadest selection of security chips available on the market today.

CryptoMemory devices are priced very competitively compared to conventional EEPROM-based security solutions. Prices start under 30 cents for unit quantities of 10,000 units.

The AT88SC-DK1 CryptoMemory Development Kit is available now for US $49.95 each and is available through Atmel distribution channels.

About Atmel
Atmel is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry’s broadest intellectual property (IP) technology portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions focused on consumer, industrial, security, communications, computing and automotive markets.

Atmel®, logo and combinations thereof, and others are registered trademarks, CryptoMemory® and others are trademarks of Atmel Corporation or its subsidiaries.