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Innovative Ultra-Low-Current Security Supervisor Family from STMicroelectronics Enables POS Manufacturers to Meet International Security Standards with a Single Chip

  Geneva, June 23, 2005 – STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM) launched an innovative new security supervisor chip family for the point-of-sale (POS) terminal market. The STM140x series of pin- and plug-in compatible ultra-low-current security supervisors is the world’s first chip to integrate all functions for detecting physical and environmental intrusion required by the major security standards. These functions, previously implemented using several discrete components, are now integrated into one small, low-power silicon device. The new supervisor satisfies the price, performance, and board-space requirements of POS manufacturers, while enabling them to achieve formal security certification for physical and environmental tamper detection.

The STM140x is designed for use in the High Security Module (HSM) of point-of-sale terminals, standalone cash dispensers, and card authorization systems worldwide, as well as in electronic cash registers, PC-based cash drawers, vending machines, and signature-capture devices. The chip continuously monitors physical tamper units and switches, primary and battery-backup supply voltages, and ambient temperature, raising an alarm if it detects any attempt at intrusion. This alarm is typically used to ‘zeroise’ the cryptographic keys stored in secure memory in the HSM, which inhibits further access.

Security requirements for POS equipment are defined by a number of national, international, and industry-specific standards: FIPS-140 (Federal Information Processing Standards) is used by US Federal organizations when specifying cryptography-based security systems for the protection of sensitive data, and is widely used for other applications; EMV Co (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa), PCI (Payment Card Industry); and the German ZKA (Zentraler Kreditausschuss) define standards for payment and banking applications.
“These new security supervisors present a real opportunity for cost savings, design simplification, and enhanced features in the POS market,” said Peter Lobo, Business Development Manager for Application Specific Analog Products, STMicroelectronics. “They will enable manufacturers to achieve certification for multiple levels of all the major standards in a single submission, and to reduce total manufacturing costs by replacing a whole collection of other parts.”

ST’s new STM140x family is designed to meet all the above standards for physical and environmental tamper detection. The first chip to be released – the STM1403 – targets FIPS-140 Security Level 3 and provides more than seven key supervisor functions, including: detection of low-power supply and low-battery voltage on power-up; automatic battery switchover in case the primary supply is disrupted; over- and under-voltage alarm; and four physical tamper inputs. An optional 1.237V reference voltage output is also available on the STM1403A for use as reference to an A/D converter.
The STM1404, which is expected to be available in sample quantities in the third quarter of 2005, is intended for the highest security level (Level 4) of the FIPS-140 standard. The chip includes a functional superset of the STM1403 and customer-selectable and factory-programmed over- and under-temperature alarms, in addition to the Security Level 3 functions. The two devices are pin and plug-in compatible, enabling manufacturers to design and certify one platform to all security levels, saving both design effort and the cost of multiple certification.
Both devices are packaged in a small and security-friendly 3mm square 16-pin QFN package. Further cost savings are achieved by integrating, on-chip, all of the functionality that has, up to now, been implemented using separate components – design, manufacturing, and total parts costs are reduced, and the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) area is minimized. Thanks to the fact that each STM140x device integrates voltage supervisor, battery switchover, and low battery voltage detection, it can replace the standard microprocessor supervisor chip in many different applications..
To maintain battery life on Standby or in portable applications, the supervisors have extremely low battery-current consumption – typically 2.9 microamps for the STM1403 when switched to a 3.6V battery. The physical tamper inputs have built-in glitch immunity to reduce the incidence of false alarms, a leading cause of customer returns of POS equipment.

The STM1403 is available in sample quantities now and will enter into volume production in Q3 2005. Pricing is $1.50 for the STM1403C and $1.65 for the STM1403A in high volumes.

Lunes, 27 Junio, 2005 - 04:27
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