Let’s say you’re a burglar deciding which house to rob. The first one has a lock on the front door, but the windows are only half shut and could be forced open. The second has a stronger lock on the front door, bars on the windows, video cameras on the roof, and a keypad, for disarming an alarm, in the entryway. It’s a pretty easy decision. You say goodbye to the second house, since it’s so heavily protected, and try your luck with the first one.
A similar thing happens with identity theft and government-issued documents. Hackers and other criminals avoid documents protected by robust security mechanisms, and focus instead on poorly protected documents that are more likely to give them what they want.
That’s why NXP developed the IntegralSecurity architecture. It provides a multi-pronged defense that protects data at every point, from the factory to the eID holder’s hand. That way, governments can create the kinds of documents that identity thieves pass by, without a second look.
Unlike monolithic approaches, which rely on just a few security mechanisms to protect data, the IntegralSecurity architecture uses more than a hundred interlinked, redundant, and highly adaptable security provisions. Each of these attack countermeasures, realized in hardware, can be updated and strengthened selectively, so the architecture keeps pace with the continuously changing threat landscape. Here’s a look at just a few of the security mechanisms used with eGovernment documents:
- Protected IP
The IntegralSecurity architecture uses an advanced 0.09 µm CMOS technology, with several metal layers, to produce a highly protective mesh of active and dynamic multi-threaded shielding. The circuit is nearly impossible to reverse engineer, even if probed by a silicon expert, and is structured in such a way that any information stored in the encrypted memories is nearly impossible to decipher.
- Unique electronic “fingerprint”
An exclusive NXP feature, called the Physical Unclonable Function (PUF), uses the unique atomic structure of the semiconductor chip to give the IC the equivalent of a fingerprint. The PUF data can be used over and over, yet remains uniquely paired with the IC. This revolutionizes security for eGov documents, since the chip and its application is protected by a physical property, not memory content. The PUF enables a new kind of key management, and gives the eGov document a “forensic” security feature that is essentially impossible to detect or reproduce.
- Tamper resistance
The highly secure RAM and additional Stealth-NV-Memory use advanced detection techniques that sense when the IC is being tampered with, and shut down sensitive operations when under attack.
- Attack resistance
A wide range of features act as countermeasures against all types of attacks. For example, the patented SecureFetch feature, which defends against light and laser attacks, offers protection that goes beyond software code to include other kinds of data, too. Patented GlueLogic, for optimum relief of operation system countermeasures and safe as well as fast composite certifications plus approvals, and active shielding technology provide the highest level of attack resilience. The architecture avoids the weaknesses inherent in other approaches by using no hard macros.
- Best-in-class crypto protection
A remarkable combination of crypto algorithms, covering on and off power states, provides what is considered to be the most advanced protection in the industry. The Frame2 crypto coprocessor supports symmetric DES/AES and asymmetric RSA/ECC algorithms, and uses a flexible RSA key length of up to 4,096 bits, yet operates with extraordinary efficiency. In particular, when the power is off, the coprocessor can be protected by the above-mentioned PUF. An optional certified state-of-the-art NXP crypto library is tailored on optimum performance and security and enables fast time-to-market for any new OS creation.
- Data Guard for multi-applications
For eGov documents that perform more than one function, such as eIDs that also support payment, the IntegralSecurity architecture delivers unrivaled protection. The Memory Management Unit (MMU) acts as a guard for multi-applications through separated application data access and firewall-like protection from cross-over operations.
- Certified assurance
The design and production facilities that support the IntegralSecurity architecture routinely pass the audits for internationally recognized standards for security and quality control, including ISO/IEC 15408. The ICs based on IntegralSecurity have achieved CC EAL6+ certification, which represents the highest practical level of evaluation assurance under the most recent Protection Profiles.
The SmartMX portfolio
The IntegralSecurity architecture reflects NXP’s decades-long leadership in security technologies, and forms the basis of NXP’s SmartMX family of products. We continually upgrade the product line, adding new security features, such as the recently introduced PUF, now available on the SmartMX P60 family. This ongoing commitment to enhanced security yields stronger yet simpler ways to protect confidential data, and forces identity thieves to look elsewhere for opportunities.
Join the conversation
What’s your perspective on security in eGov documents? Do you use an eID? What is your experience with it?