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16bit MCUs secure credit, ID cards

Posted: 13 Nov 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:16bit secure MCU? smart card? CPU?

Renesas Technology Corp. has introduced the new RS-4 series of 16bit secure MCUs for smart card applications requiring high level of security, such as credit or debit cards and ID cards.

The new RS-4 series of 16bit secure MCUs is the successor to the AE-4 series of 16bit secure MCUs and maintains CPU instruction code compatibility with its predecessor while delivering approximately five times the processing performance. The new secure MCUs can perform complex processing at high speed, making it possible for them to run a multi-application OS such as Java Card or MULTOS faster, which is necessary to implement multiple functions on a single smart card. In addition, the low-power design makes it suitable for contactless operation as the series enables developers to realize contact-type or contactless smart cards offering high performance and multifunctionality using a 16bit MCU.

The new series also implements encryption processing, required in the financial field, based on that of the AE-4. In addition, the RS-4 adds a coprocessor supporting stronger Advanced Encryption Standard and other security features.

The RS-4 CPU core of the series employs Renesas architecture that has been developed for use in secure MCUs. It has a 16bit arithmetic unit and a 16bit internal bus. The RS-4 CPU core supports the entire instruction set of the earlier Renesas AE-4 16bit CPU core for code-level compatibility. This allows the software resources developed for the AE-4 to be reused with the RS-4, reducing the time and cost required for system development. Compared with the AE-4, the RS-4 is designed to deliver better performance, enhanced security, and additional peripheral functions for improved flexibility.

Other peripheral functions that contribute to enhanced security include: new pseudo random sequence generator for generating random numbers at high speed as an effective security measure; and incorporation of the latest security technology for protecting against light attacks. As a result, the final product versions will offer smart card MCU security level EAL5+ certification as defined under Common Criteria for IT Security Evaluation, an attestation of high-level security demanded by the target market.

As a development tool, sample shipments have begun of an emulator with the first RS-4 logic chip product installed on it. This will enable developers to start creating and evaluating software before sample shipments begin in Q2 of 2008.

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