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Single-chip device boosts data security

Posted: 25 Oct 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:security device? encryption engine? security solution?

STMicroelectronics has announced a device that will help protect confidential or sensitive information on PCs and laptops. This device will hopefully dramatically reduce relevant costs that an enterprise or the government will have to pay when an electronic device like laptop or PC with such a sensitive information is lost or stolen.

According to ST, the HardCache-SL3/PC is a single-chip data encryption engine that is the first in the world to include a cryptographic module certified to the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 Level 3 standard, the most rigorous security standard anywhere in the world for non-military applications. FIPS 140-2 is a U.S. government standard that specifies requirements for cryptographic modules. Initially developed for use by the U.S. government departments and agencies, FIPS 140-2 is fast becoming a de facto standard, both nationally and internationally, and is the model for the International Security Standard (ISO) 19790 currently being developed. The growing importance of these standards is due to the increasing damage individuals and businesses suffer as a result of the loss and disclosure of sensitive and confidential information. In addition, a proliferation of new laws around the world require enhanced security and privacy while raising the legal and financial stakes for enterprises that fail to meet the standards.

"HardCache-SL3/PC sets a new reference level for the industry by providing a solution certified by NIST for its highest non-military level of security, that is accessible to a broader audience, thanks to its affordable cost," said Francesco Brianti, vice president open market business unit.

Until now, the cost of complying with Level 3 was so high that very few computer and data storage manufacturers could afford it. As a result, most "secure computers" employ software solutions that could not go beyond Level 2 and even slowed the performance of the computer. The HardCache-SL3/PC eliminates these problems because the hard-wired encryption engine embedded within the chip performs all of the encryption and decryption algorithms. These algorithms are needed each time the system retrieves data stored from the memory to the central processor with no impact to performance.

The HardCache-SL3/PC is fully supported by software drivers and a development kit to lower the cost of developing new secure applications.

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