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Low-Cost Method for Private Encryption Key Management

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000021026D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Dec-17
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Dec-17
Document File: 1 page(s) / 43K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Low-cost electronic devices that exchange secure data through encryption may seek lower costs by employing a technique that replaces traditional nonvolatile (EEPROM) key storage with an integrated technology solution.

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Low-Cost Method for Private Encryption Key Management

As the need to incorporate data security in low-cost electronic devices grows, security mechanisms must be developed that are cost appropriate and provide a degree of security commensurate with a device's application. Low-cost designs that require encryption/decryption of data can incur significant costs relative to existing methods for providing private key storage. Nonvolatile memory used to store private keys (PKeys) for key management is expensive relative to overall electronic device costs of a couple of dollars or less. Many applications today maintain keys in either an EEPROM , or similar memory supporting programmability, either pre-, or post-manufacturing. Discrete EEPROM devices, or similar storage devices are costly, and if integrated within an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) or System on chip (SOC), incur significant additional wafer costs due to the additional processing steps required as part of the manufacturing process.

Given the heightened focus on security and, likewise, the need to reduce silicon cost to improve profitability and lower price, a low-cost means for storing private keys is needed. Also, the method must provide a secure means of private key storage, i.e., guards against malicious attack, either read or update. It is the goal of this invention to provide a low-cost method for maintaining private encryption keys for inexpensive electronic devices.

To achieve the desired goal, EEPROM storage and other such sim...