Microchip Debuts Encryption Libraries for Secure Embedded Transaction

1/26/2005 - Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, announced two encryption software libraries for its 16-bit dsPIC® Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs). The dsPIC30F Symmetric Key Encryption Library enables embedded designers to take advantage of the high data throughput intrinsic to the popular Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and Triple Data Encryption Standard (DES) "Secret Key" algorithms. The dsPIC30F Asymmetric Key Encryption Library supports the Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA) and Rivest-Shamir-Adelman (RSA) algorithms, which each utilize two separate keys to protect data enabling design engineers to reduce code-breaking risks by sharing only one of the keys. Whether doing symmetric or asymmetric encryption separately or in tandem, the dsPIC DSC reduces customer costs and occupied board space by providing both embedded control and secure data communication.

The two dsPIC30F Encryption Libraries, which were developed by NTRU Cryptosystems, Inc., of Burlington, MA, consist of C-callable functions. Both libraries are optimized for speed, code size and RAM usage. RAM usage with the Symmetric Library is below 60 bytes, and is below 100 bytes with the Asymmetric Library.

"Though communications have long been a part of embedded applications, encryption is a valuable addition for many," said Sumit Mitra, vice president of Microchip's Digital Signal Controller division. "From an embedded processor viewpoint, encryption is the next stage of evolution after basic code protection. However, it takes a processor with the dsPIC DSC's performance to handle the application alongside the demands of real-time secure communication."

Any embedded application where data or code is uploaded or downloaded can benefit from these advanced encryption libraries. Specific example applications include: mobile and wireless devices such as PDAs, smart-card terminals, secure banking and Internet applications, ZigBeeTM protocol and other "monitoring and control" applications, friend/foe identification systems, secure devices and peripherals interoperating with personal computers running Trusted Computing Group (TCG) or Microsoft's Next Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB).

The dsPIC30F Symmetric Key Encryption/Decryption Library functions support multiple modes of operation, including: Electronic Code Book (ECB) mode, Cipher Block Chaining mode (CBC), CBC-based Message Authentication (CBC-MAC) mode, Counter (CTR) mode, and combined CBC-MAC and Counter Mode (CCM).

In addition to standard encryption, decryption and authentication functions, the dsPIC30F Asymmetric Key Encryption Library has several useful auxiliary functions. These auxiliary functions include: Modular Arithmetic functions, Random Number Generator (RNG), SHA-1 Hash algorithm, and the Message Digest algorithm MD5.

"After considering many vendors, we selected NTRU Cryptosystems, Inc. to develop the dsPIC DSC encryption libraries. Our decision was based on the high-quality products they are known to deliver and their deep expertise in the security arena," said Jerry Michnal, manager of the Digital Signal Controller Division applications department at Microchip. "We found them to be a reliable and professional organization to work with."

"The dsPIC digital signal controller is well suited for security applications, and the porting effort was made extremely efficient by the architecture and tools provided by Microchip, and the expertise of our engineers," said Ed King, CEO of NTRU. "By providing these encryption libraries, we believe that Microchip has taken strong steps to address the emerging market for secure embedded communications."

Availability and Pricing
All licensing options for both libraries are immediately available. Among these options is a one-year evaluation license, which is unaltered from the libraries that are used for production and can be purchased online at buy.microchip.com. The dsPIC30F Symmetric Key Encryption Evaluation Library license (SW300050-EVAL) is $5USD, and the dsPIC30F Asymmetric Key Encryption Evaluation Library license (SW300055-EVAL) is also $5USD. Industry-unique, one-time-fee licensing options are also available for production, which runs counter to the per-unit royalty business model that is common for this class of library. Starting at $2,500USD for 5,000-unit products, the license fee that Microchip charges is attractive to many customers since it is a fraction of the cost they would incur developing it themselves.

These one-time fees are based on the estimated lifetime volume of products derived from the design effort that uses the library. For additional pricing or other information, contact any Microchip sales representative or authorized worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip's Web site at www.microchip.com/dspic.

Previous Page | News by Category | News Search

If you found this page useful, bookmark and share it on: