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Discretix to secure SH-based handsets

Posted: 16 Feb 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:handset? discretix? cryptocell security block? renesas technology? sh-mobile?

As handsets evolve into increasingly powerful portals to the digital world, their internal requirements are changing rapidly. Along with compression and decompression engines, graphics processors and audio subsystems comes a growing need for security. Like compression, security requires hardware assistance to be effective in real-time, said Edo Ganot, executive VP of sales and business development at embedded-security vendor Discretix Inc. Indeed, "It's impossible to secure software-based security systems," Ganot said. 7quot;You can't establish a route of trust."

Discretix has anticipated this need with a combination of embeddable hardware blocks and firmware modules designed for the handset environment. The company announced it would provide its CryptoCell security blocks to Renesas Technology Corp. for use in the SH-Mobile processor devices. Renesas has had some success pushing the SH into the handset market as the feature load on the little boxes rises.

The Discretix hardware module comes as six configurable functional blocks that work together to accelerate any of a wide variety of authentication and crypto tasks. The blocks are parameterizable, so a user can work with the company at design time to pick a trade-off point for die area and performance.

"In designing the current generation of the IP, the CryptoCell 4, we concentrated on gate-count reduction," said Jacob Greenblatt, director of strategy for Discretix. "This has reduced the footprint of the hardware to the point that it is no longer a concern to chip designers."

Ganot said the total hardware footprint can be as small as 40Kgates, if some tasks are handled in firmware and if key sizes are kept small. A system with large keys and high speed would still come in under 60Kgates, he said.

The hardware blocks attach directly to the SH system bus, where they can be configured as either masters or slaves.

Adding the Discretix capabilities to the already rich mix of IP available in the SH world should position that longstanding architecture to continue its aggressive courting of the advanced-feature handset market.

- Ron Wilson

EE Times

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