Browse Prior Art Database

Encryption Key Security by Electric Field Destruction of Memory Cells

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000034036D
Original Publication Date: 1989-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jan-26

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Authors:
Double, GP Fryer, GB [+details]

Abstract

Encryption keys stored in volatile or non-volatile solid-state memory arrays must be protected from unauthorized observation if the keys are to be effective. A typical means of protecting the keys utilizes logical overwriting with zeros or random data if intrusion is detected. High tech attacks exist that can neutralize the process or the effects of overwriting, leaving the keys vulnerable to unauthorized observation. (Image Omitted) An alternate method of protection involves the physical destruction of memory cells containing the sensitive data. The thin gates of MOS memory cells can be permanently damaged if subjected to a high electric field having sufficient energy.