Encryption Key Security by Electric Field Destruction of Memory Cells
Original Publication Date: 1989-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jan-26
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.