Smart-card crypto engine gets certification

A flash-based secure cryptographic controller for smart cards from Atmel Corp. of San Jose, Calif., has been granted a Common Criteria Evaluated Assurance Level 4+, augmented to Assurance Vulnerability Assessment-Vulnerability Analysis.4.

The AVA-VLA.4 augmentation represents a high level of assurance against sophisticated attacks, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Computer Security Resource Center.

The AT90SC3232CS controller was developed for the high-security smart-card market, including the financial industry and government.

Because high-security applications often require cards in smaller quantities, the controller uses flash technology. It has 32K flash program memory and 3K of RAM. It has two cryptographic co-processors, one for asymmetric algorithms such as RSA, DSA and Elliptic Curve, and one for the Data Encryption Standard and Triple DES.

Common Criteria are internationally recognized standards for security products, administered in the United States by the National Information Assurance Partnership, a collaboration of NIST and the National Security Agency.

Atmel has manufacturing operations in Europe, and a French laboratory awarded the CC certification. Participating nations recognize certifications from any approved laboratory.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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