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Conquering Copycats: The Key is Hardware Intrinsic Security

Authored on: Aug 26, 2009 by Pim Tuyls

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Hardware security is essential to the prevention of cloning, theft of service and tampering, and thus to the preservation of a company's revenues. Effective hardware security starts with secure key storage. The level of security provided by a key is dependent upon the effort an attacker needs to expend to compromise the key. The sophistication of the tools that are used to carry out such attacks has increased significantly over the years, compromising the protection of traditional key-storage approaches. A radically new approach is needed to counter this increased threat, which is costing semiconductor and systems companies billions of dollars in lost revenues. Rather than trying harder to conceal the key in the hardware, a revolutionary approach has emerged in which the key is simply not stored. This new approach to hardware security relies on the unique "fingerprint" inherent in every semiconductor device and is known as hardware intrinsic security (HIS).

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