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NXP Semiconductors and NTRU Step Up Microcontroller Security


Exclusive software encryption enables flexible, fast and low-cost security implementation in real-time

NXP Semiconductors, the independent semiconductor company founded by Philips, and NTRU, a leading provider of embedded security software solutions, today at Embedded World in Nuremberg, Germany announced one of the first software-based encryption solutions for general-purpose ARM7 microcontrollers. Software-encrypted microcontrollers can be used in various applications including credit card readers, entry access systems, ATMs and set-top boxes. The software encryption-based technology will allow customers to upgrade the microcontroller security in an installed application, in order to provide countermeasures against possible attacks.

“Encryption and security solutions are particularly significant in an increasingly connected world where businesses have a need to authenticate and protect information,” said Sheila Walker, vice president of business development, NTRU. “Embedded designers desire sophisticated encryption for even low-cost applications that may be carrying or transmitting sensitive information, which is what makes our partnership with NXP unique.”

NXP’s ARM-based microcontrollers feature In Application Programming (IAP) which gives customers the option of upgrading their security algorithm in the field, regardless of whether the product has been comprised. The popular LPC2300 and LPC2400 MCU series feature many communication peripherals, including Ethernet, CAN and USB, providing customers the flexibility to upgrade their security algorithms in installed applications. Targeted to automotive, consumer, financial, medical and industrial end-equipment designers, software encryption provides the benefits of speed, flexibility and lower cost over time.

“We are very pleased to be working with NTRU and leveraging their know-how as the encryption experts in order to help our customers protect their data,” said Geoff Lees, vice president and general manager, microcontroller product line, NXP Semiconductors. “Software encryption gives our customers the flexibility to quickly respond to IP threats even before they happen and protect valuable IP.”

Technical Details

The NTRU software security libraries for NXP’s ARM technology-based microcontrollers provide the user tools including encryption and decryption of messages, digital signatures, and utilities protocols like key negotiation. Core features include confidentiality, which allows the sender and receiver to be sure that the information is being shared only in the way they intend; authentication, which allows the receiver of the information to be certain where it came from; and integrity, which allows the receiver to verify that the message has not been altered in transit.

Specific functionality will include encryption, decryption, random number generation, digital signatures and other utilities protocols to achieve benefits such as confidentiality, authentication, integrity and non-repudiation. The algorithms include Hash algorithms (SHA-1, MD5 and X9.82 RNG), Symmetric-key encryption/decryption (AES, Triple-DES) and Asymmetric-key encryption/decryption (RSA, DSA, Diffie-Hellman).

Pricing and Availability

NTRU’s software encryption libraries for NXP LPC2000 and LPC3000 microcontrollers are available immediately. Development license costs and royalty per unit is determined by and paid to NTRU. Baseline royalty per unit pricing will be negotiable with NTRU exclusively. NXP will be available at the Embedded World Conference in Nuremberg from February 26-28, 2008 at booth #12-442.


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