Atmel has expanded its already formidable CryptoAuthentication portfolio with the ATECC108 – the company’s first Elliptical Curve asymmetric key authentication solution. According to Atmel engineer Steve Jarmusz, the ATECC108 features NIST standard P256, B283 and K283 Elliptic Curves, along with the FIPS 186-3 Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm.
“This combination of features – plus 8.5Kb EEPROM for storing up to 16 keys, unique 72-bit serial number and a FIPS standard based Random Number Generator – makes the ATECC108 ideal for a wide range of authentication applications,” Jarmusz told Bits & Pieces. “This includes consumer electronics, consumables, medical devices, industrial automation and IP licensing.”
The ATECC108 – which offers pin-to-pin compatibility with Atmel’s ATSHA204 symmetric key based authentication solution – consists of a SHA256 Hash Engine and is thus also functionally compatible with ATSHA204. The inclusion of both ECDSA and SHA256 will undoubtedly help engineers ease the migration from symmetric to asymmetric key authentication.
In addition, the ATECC108 utilizes 256- or 283-bit keys – both of which are more secure than a number of competing products weighing in at just 163 bits. Indeed, the NIST (Computer Security Research Center) recommends elliptic curves of 256/283-bit keys beyond the year 2030, while advising against key length less than 160 bit after 2010.
As expected, Atmel’s Elliptical Curve asymmetric key authentication solution offers comprehensive tamper protection, as it is built from the ground up to shield against a wide range of hardware attacks including micro-probing, timing, emission and power cycling.
“Perhaps most importantly, the ATECC108 offers a turnkey solution which is easy to use and does not require knowledge of cryptography,” Jarmusz added. “It is also supported by Atmel’s Studio 6 integrated development environment (IDE), facilitating an efficient design process and reducing time to market.”