Atmel Introduces Trusted Computing Standard for Embedded Systems

10/20/2004 - Atmel® Corporation (Nasdaq: ATML) announced the AT97SC3201S Trusted Platform Module (TPM), a single-chip hardware security subsystem designed specifically for embedded systems, such as voting machines, gaming systems, PDAs, set top boxes, POS terminals, ATMs, portable mass storage devices, and industrial controls. Based on Trusted Computing Group industry standards, the new device offers embedded systems ultra-security that, until now, has only been available for personal computers.

SMBus Interface – Atmel's embedded TPM is the only TPM on the market to offer a system management bus (SMBus) interface. Most embedded systems use the SMBus, while all competing TPMs use the Low Pin Count (LPC) bus used with Intel- and AMD-based PCs. As a result, embedded systems were simply unable to take advantage of TPM hardware-based security without difficult and time consuming bus translation or had to rely on less secure software-based security solutions. Atmel's AT97SC3201S embedded TPM provides off-the-shelf hardware-based security.

Hardware-based Encryption - The AVR®-based AT97SC3201S TPM includes, on-chip, a 500 ms, 2048-bit crypto accelerator and a random number generator that can generate an unlimited number of asymmetric encryption/decryption key pairs on the fly, and execute data encryption and decryption. A tamper-resistant EEPROM on the chip permits the secure storage of up to twenty encryption and signature key pairs. Some embedded systems may not have sufficient processing power to execute cryptographic functions. Since Atmel TPMs can perform these functions internally, they simplify the addition of TPM-style security to embedded systems. The benefit to embedded systems is the TPM's ability to generate very high quality keys that are securely stored within the TPM.

SHA-1 Hash Function - Additional system security is provided by SHA-1 hash functions that provide the ability to create, store and compare a "safe” system software profile. The hashed value is stored in the TPM's Platform Configuration Registers (PCRs) and can be compared to the current state of the system's software. The ability to immediately detect changes in a system's software profile allows the owner to detect a compromised system and prevent theft by denying access to or even shutting down the system. A change of even a single bit will be detected.

Real-time Clock - A real time clock on the AT97SC3201S provides unique date stamping for authentication and attestation processes. This feature is essential for set top boxes in which order time and delivery time of pay per view content must be time stamped. The TPM detects any undesirable event, allowing the system to shut down anytime one is detected.

Tamper-Detection Circuits - Additional hardware-based security is provided by proprietary, tamper-detection circuits that monitor the voltage, clock frequency and other aspects of the TPM's operating environment. If the environment moves out of a prescribed range, the tamper detection circuits will disable the chip or otherwise prevent access to sensitive information stored therein. For example, if the TPM's supply voltage drops below a prescribed level, the chip is disabled and a potential attack is thwarted.

Small Footprint Package - Space-constrained embedded systems also benefit from the AT97SC3201S's 6 x 6 millimeter multi-lead frame (MLF) package, which is less than half the size of the TSSOP packaging used for conventional TCG-compliant TPMs.

According the Kevin Schutz, Atmel's Product Line Manager for Trusted Platform Modules, "The AT97SC3201S gives embedded systems the capability to provide a variety of software integrity measurements, perform mutual authentication processes, and present credentials that have not been available to embedded systems designs before. Now any embedded system can take advantage of hardware security based on TCG standards.”

Price and Availability
The 3.3 volt AT97SC3201S is available immediately and is priced at $4.50 in quantities of 10,000.

About Atmel
Atmel is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry's broadest intellectual property (IP) portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions. Focused on consumer, industrial, security, communications, computing and automotive markets, Atmel ICs can be found Everywhere You AreSM

About Trusted Computing Group
The Trusted Computing Group (TCG) is an open, industry standards organization formed to develop, define, and promote open standards for hardware-enabled trusted computing and security technologies, including hardware building blocks and software interfaces, across multiple platforms, peripherals, and devices. TCG specifications enable more secure computing environments without compromising functional integrity, privacy, or individual rights. The primary goal is to help users protect their information assets (data, passwords, keys, etc.) from compromise due to external software attack and physical theft. For more information, go to

Atmel®, logo and combinations thereof and AVR are the registered trademarks, and Everywhere You AreSM is the trademark of Atmel Corporation or its subsidiaries.

Atmel's product information may be retrieved at

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