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Delivering cost-effective security to protect customer designs

Designers will now be able to proactively and inexpensively protect their products with a solution that is said to be immune to invasive physical attacks, the DS28E38 DeepCover secure authenticator from Maxim Integrated Products.

The DS28E38 features Maxim’s ChipDNA physically unclonable function (PUF) technology, making it ‘immune’ to invasive attacks because the ChipDNA-based root cryptographic key does not exist in memory or any other static state. Instead, Maxim’s PUF circuit relies on the naturally occurring random analogue characteristics of fundamental MOSFET semiconductor devices to produce cryptographic keys.

This means that when needed, the circuit generates the per-device unique key, which instantly disappears when it is no longer in use. As a result, if the DS28E38 were to come under an invasive physical attack, the attack would cause the sensitive electrical characteristics of the circuit to change, further impeding the breach.

In addition to the protection benefits, the ChipDNA technology simplifies or eliminates the need for complicated secure IC key management as the key can be used directly for cryptographic operations.

The ChipDNA circuit has demonstrated high reliability over process, voltage, temperature, and aging and in addition, to address cryptographic quality, PUF output evaluation to the NIST-based randomness test suite was successful with pass results.

Using the DS28E38, engineers will be able, from the start, to build into their designs a defence against hacking.

The IC is low-cost and simple to integrate into a design via Maxim’s single-contact 1-Wire interface combined with a low-complexity fixed-function command set including cryptographic operations.

Key Advantages:

  • Highly secure: ChipDNA protected set of cryptographic tools including asymmetric (ECC-P256) hardware engine, true random number generator (TRNG), decrement-only counter with authenticated read, 2Kb of secured electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM), and unique 64-bit ROM identification number
  • Easy to implement and cost-effective: single-contact operation with 1-Wire, no device-level firmware development, simplified key management, and free host-system software tools
  • Highly reliable: 5ppb PUF key-error rate (KER) achieved over time, temperature, and voltage

Author
Neil Tyler

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