Maxim launches a new generation of Internet of things security chip based on chipdna PUF Technology

Security has become the primary task in the era of Internet of things, especially at the hardware level. Maxim hopes to bring security and low power consumption to Internet of things applications through its encryption processor.

As the world becomes more digital, the risks and fears of network security are also increasing. Only the security of software design can not meet the security requirements, but it is more and more necessary to consider security when designing hardware, even at the silicon level.

Maxim integrated (now officially part of ADI) has been working hard to achieve this goal. The company recently released a new low-power encryption controller, which uses physical non clonable function (PUF) technology to improve hardware security. This paper will analyze the characteristics of PUF technology and Maxim’s latest encryption unit.

About PUF

Before we get to know the products released by Maxim, let’s talk about PUF, which is one of the most important technologies in the field of hardware security.

PUFs can use challenge response to verify the equipment. Picture provided by sutar El Al

PUF is a hardware security technology, which uses the inherent changes of device characteristics to produce a non clonable and unique device response to a given input. The response of PUF is unique, random and repeatable. It can help the generation and “storage” of encryption key, making it very difficult to crack at the hardware or software level.

One of the main benefits of PUF is that it is a non-volatile technology, but it does not physically “store” keys.

On the contrary, PUF creates the key in a challenge response manner when needed, and then the key is erased almost instantaneously. As Maxim integrated said. “There is always a key, but you can never see it.” using PUF can realize powerful and highly secure encryption key storage at the hardware level, which is why Maxim incorporated it into the security platform chipdna PUF.

Maxim’s chipdna PUF

Maxim integrated has invested heavily in PUF technology, and its flagship product is chipdna PUF.

Chipdna works by taking advantage of the random changes naturally occurring in CMOS Design and the mismatch of analog characteristics. The following figure shows a simplified block diagram of PUF architecture. The example key size is 128 bits.

Simplified block diagram of chipdna PUF structure. Images provided by Maxim integrated

The figure above shows a 16 x 16 array of 256 analog PUF elements combined into 128 pairs. Due to process changes, each component will show random I / V characteristics, and then Maxim generates binary values through circuit level comparison of each pair of components. This process is repeated for all 128 pairs, resulting in a unique 128 bit key output.

Most importantly, as a hardware level security feature, chipdna PUF can be completely immune to all known invasive attacks (i.e. detection), so it can become a way to provide hardware level security.

Now that we have understood the general concepts of PUF and Maxim’s chipdna PUF, let’s finally have a deep understanding of the latest version.

Maxq1065 = low power and safety

Maxim’s latest security coprocessor maxq1065 is an ultra-low power encryption controller for the Internet of things.

In the application of Internet of things, low power consumption is one of its most important aspects. Maxq1065 achieves this. Its standby power consumption is less than 100na. Maxim says that compared with similar products, its power consumption can be reduced by 30 times.

The device aims to provide several security measures, including trust root, mutual authentication, data confidentiality and integrity, and secure startup.

Functional block diagram of maxq1065. Images provided by Maxim integrated

On this basis, maxq1065 uses chipdna PUF technology to prevent device level security attacks. Other hardware safety measures include.

A true random number generator (TRNG)
A TLS / dtls 1.2 handshake and recording layer
An 8 KB user data security memory

In the future, Maxim hopes to see the application of maxq1065 in Internet of things devices, such as supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), medical equipment, building and home automation, intelligent city and intelligent measurement. As the world becomes more connected, it will be crucial to continue to find low-power and high security processors.

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