Electronic ID Certification – protecting your most valuable asset

Electronic ID Certification – protecting your most valuable asset

Electronic ID systems like ePassports, health cards and payment cards are set to revolutionise the way we live. But when personal information such as banking details or health records are at stake, security is absolutely vital.

ePassportThe reality is people simply won’t use the systems unless they’re given fundamental security guarantees by respected institutions. And the key to this is an effective and efficient certification programme.

Ever consider the time and effort required to safeguard the security and ensure non-vulnerability of these electronic ID devices? Independent evaluation labs and governmental certification institutions around the world are working hard to make eID systems safe and secure for all of us.

Why we care about certification

So, why is certification important to us?  For end users of smart cards, it means they can rely on the products they use for important and sensitive transactions. For the device or system manufacturers we serve, it allows them to ensure the products they design are safe, secure and reliable.

Also vital for us, is that there is no compromise or trade-off between security measures and performance.  Our SmartMX2 P60 family of state-of-the-art security chip controllers is a case in point. In all smart card applications the fast transaction time and safe contact and contactless operation is key in order to meet customer’s expectations. We provide:

  • outstanding figures for end-user performance (e.g. ePassport Extended Access Control benchmark: 50KB < 2.5 s transaction time)
  • up to three dedicated high performance co-processors for AES, 3DES, RSA/ECC which are designed to offer ultra-low power consumption and with that – via sophisticated power management – being able to fully run at highest speed for all contactless applications. This also includes future applications based on NFC phones, e.g. mobile Point of Sales (POS) and mobile eID use
  • convincing feature upgrade and unique in the security controller market is the optional inclusion of CC certified convergence functionality in order to serve any MIFARE Plus, MIFARE Classic or MIFARE DESFire infrastructure

Many design-ins have already been completed, including major eID, Health card and ePassport projects as well as important worldwide Banking card projects.

Non-volatile memory preloading

The P60 products are in volume production and can be ordered out of a broad portfolio of packages covering all kind of CC certified card and non-card form factors. A big range of different services supports the optional non-volatile memory preloading of the devices during the assembly phase in order to facilitate even complex crypto pre-personalization tasks for the end customers.

So, that’s what we’re doing to ensure that this digital revolution is safe and secure. And, if, like us, you want to hold most secure and best-performing smart cards in your wallet, you might already be using a product powered by the P60 SmartMX2 performance and security!

Our own certification journey

Back in 2001, we achieved from the German “Bundesamt fuer Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI)” the worldwide first Common Criteria (CC) EAL5+ certification compliant to the standard Protection Profile for a widely used high performance crypto controller. This was followed up with more than twenty CC EAL5+ certificates on basic SmartMX P5 family member ICs. In 2012 this was topped by the 1st Common Criteria EAL6+ BSI certificate for a 90nm CMOS technology dual interface controller ever granted worldwide: the SmartMX2 P60D144.

And, now, our whole set of SmartMX2-P60 family members – from 16K to 144K of non-volatile data memory – is awarded with six Common Criteria (CC) hardware certificates on the high and augmented level EAL6+ so far, in addition to two certifications for the customer convenient secured P60 Crypto Library on level EAL5+. Want to know more?

Please visit our Identification and security / SmartMX2 page and let us know what you think on the comments section of this blog.

Wolfgang Teich
Wolfgang Teich
I have been working with NXP Semiconductors as a Product Manager for more than 15 years, always being excited by the enormous step-ups in performance, attack resilience and steadily enhanced application use range of secure smart card controllers.

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