As data communications and applications security increasingly become a requirement for system designs, embedded engineers are realizing that identification and authentication are a major component of their designs. A key technological feature that must be incorporated in these components is the ability to create and protect unique identifiers that serve to prove the identity of connected entities to each other.

For security applications between automated systems, the gold standard for authenticating access is the use of secure cryptographic protocols that require the systems involved in a transaction or session to prove their identities using cryptographic techniques. In most cryptographic protocols, identification and authentication of entities to each other reduces to proof of knowledge of a secret.

This paper provides an overview of techniques for identification and authentication, and follows with a discussion of the means to their implementation in a System-on-Chip (SoC).