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NXP, NTRU raise MCU security to next level

Posted: 29 Feb 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MCU? security? NTRU NXP?

NXP Semiconductors and embedded security software provider NTRU have introduced one of the first software-based encryption solutions for general-purpose ARM7 MCUs. Software-encrypted microcontrollers can be used in various applications including credit card readers, entry access systems, ATMs and set-top boxes. The software encryption-based technology will allow customers to upgrade the microcontroller security in an installed application, in order to provide countermeasures against possible attacks, say the companies.

"Encryption and security solutions are particularly significant in an increasingly connected world where businesses have a need to authenticate and protect information," said Sheila Walker, VP of business development, NTRU. "Embedded designers desire sophisticated encryption for even low-cost applications that may be carrying or transmitting sensitive information, which is what makes our partnership with NXP unique."

NXP's ARM-based MCUs feature In Application Programming (IAP), which gives customers the option of upgrading their security algorithm in the field, regardless of whether the product has been comprised. The popular LPC2300 and LPC2400 MCU series feature many communication peripherals, including Ethernet, CAN and USB, providing customers the flexibility to upgrade their security algorithms in installed applications. Targeted to automotive, consumer, financial, medical and industrial end-equipment designers, software encryption provides the benefits of speed, flexibility and lower cost over time.

Core features
The NTRU software security libraries for NXP's ARM technology-based MCUs provide the user tools, including encryption and decryption of messages, digital signatures, and utilities protocols like key negotiation. Core features include confidentiality, which allows the sender and receiver to be sure that the information is being shared only in the way they intend; authentication, which allows the receiver of the information to be certain where it came from; and integrity, which allows the receiver to verify that the message has not been altered in transit.

Specific functionality will include encryption, decryption, random number generation, digital signatures and other utilities protocols to achieve benefits such as confidentiality, authentication, integrity and non-repudiation. The algorithms include Hash algorithms (SHA-1, MD5 and X9.82 RNG), Symmetric-key encryption/decryption (AES, Triple-DES) and Asymmetric-key encryption/decryption (RSA, DSA, Diffie-Hellman).

NTRU's software encryption libraries for NXP LPC2000 and LPC3000 MCUs are available immediately. Development license costs and royalty per unit is determined by and paid to NTRU. Baseline royalty per unit pricing will be negotiable with NTRU exclusively.

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