Elliptic and Impinj Collaboration Bolsters System-on-Chip Digital Content Protection

Aug 20, 2007

OTTAWA and SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - August 20, 2007) - Elliptic Semiconductor Inc. andImpinj, Inc. today announced an agreement to collaboratively develop asecure, standards-based system-on-chip (SoC) reference architecture forcontent protection applications such as digital rights management (DRM) andconditional access. The reference architecture integrates Elliptic'sembedded security module (ESM) and Impinj's AEON® multi-time programmablenonvolatile memory (NVM) core to counteract embedded system threats such asreverse chip engineering and cryptographic algorithm security breaches.

Guiding principles for the reference architecture include:

  • Utilize security technologies that have been validated through extensive testing with real-world applications by the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), the American National Standards Organization (ANSI) and the National Security Agency (NSA).
  • Leverage logic NVM to implement advanced hardware cryptography based on embedded, on-chip secrets and root-of- trust methods
  • Define a security boundary within the SoC that ensures that only fully validated software processes and local hardware resources can access secret keying material.

"In today's consumer electronics products, hardware IC features play littlerole in protecting copyrighted content," said ABI Research PrincipalAnalyst Steve Wilson in a recent report entitled "Secure Processors forConsumer Electronics - From Zero to 60 Million in Six Years." "Populardigital rights management schemes that depend on secure softwareimplementations such as Windows DRM, Fairplay, and AACS are routinelytargeted and hacked. However, processor companies are enhancing theirarchitectures and embracing security features that will simplify securesoftware implementations and make it much more difficult to copy and shareprotected content."

The planned reference architecture integrates Impinj's AEON® family ofmulti-time programmable (MTP) logic NVM cores used to embed keys and secureboot code into designs, with Elliptic's embedded security module (ESM) thatdefines a security boundary inside the SoC based on sound design practicessimilar to FIPS-140 security products. Additional architecture featuresinclude high-performance symmetric encryption through the advancedencryption standard (AES), hashing through SHA-256, mutual authenticationthrough RSA sign and verify algorithms and the Diffie-Hellman key agreementprotocol all coordinated through the on-chip secrets stored in AEON/MTP.

For more information, visit the Elliptic website online atwww.ellipticsemi.com or Impinj website online at www.impinj.com.

About Elliptic

Ranked as the fastest growing security IP provider by Gartner, EllipticSemiconductor Inc. provides semiconductor intellectual property (IP) coresand software for secure communications ranging from low power tomulti-gigabit per second implementations. Elliptic SIP cores enablesystem-on-chip designers to efficiently balance power, performance andsilicon area in complex security-based systems. Demanding customers inmarkets such as implantable devices, wireless, storage, contentdistribution and high performance communications trust Elliptic IP cores.

About Impinj

Impinj, Inc. is a semiconductor and RFID company whose patentedSelf-Adaptive Silicon® technology enables its two synergistic businesslines: high-performance RFID products and semiconductor intellectualproperty (IP). A leading contributor to the RFID standards for high-volumesupply-chain applications worldwide, Impinj leverages its technicalexpertise and industry partnerships to deliver the GrandPrix™ solution,comprising tags, readers, software and systems integration to offer RFIDthat just works™. Impinj's innovative IP products, core to the company'sRFID tags, are licensed to leading semiconductor companies worldwide,allowing them to seamlessly integrate crucial nonvolatile memory (NVM)alongside analog and digital functionality on a single chip. Impinj's IPproducts include the popular AEON® family of embeddable cores, whichprovides rewriteable NVM technology in logic CMOS manufacturing. For moreinformation, visit www.impinj.com.