Thursday, February 23, 2012

INSIDE Secure's NFC-based chip protects luxury goods from counterfeiters and cloners

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, FRANCE: INSIDE Secure, a leader in semiconductor solutions for secure transactions and digital identity, introduced the VaultIC160, a memory-enriched NFC-based security solution designed for embedding into high-end consumer or industrial products that are often targeted by counterfeiters and cloners.

The new chip packs 14 Kbytes of accessible programmable non-volatile (NV) memory in addition to 1.5 Kbytes of NV memory used to hold authentication certificate information. This increased memory allows the consumer goods vendor, or any other supplier incorporating the chip into their product, to store product-related information on the chip such as pictures, recipes, customs forms or manufacturing history.

By incorporating the VaultIC160 in their products, manufacturers of high-end consumer goods, such as handbags, "grand cru" wine, watches and consumables can track their products through distribution and retail channels, and allow consumers to use an NFC-equipped smartphone ,or a simple contactless reader, to verify that the product is an original and not a counterfeit, and to access the other information stored on the chip.

"As well as protecting high-end luxury goods with bank-level security, the extra memory capacity of the VaultIC160 provides manufacturers with more options to create new services and convenience for their customers," said Christian Fleutelot, GM, VaultIC, digital security business unit, at INSIDE Secure. "Where added memory is not a requirement, luxury good makers can opt for our lower-cost VaultIC150 solution which offers the same very high levels of embedded protection against counterfeiters and cloners."

The Vault IC160 chip's wireless NFC interface has a range of several centimeters, which means that the chip can be deeply embedded into a product without leaving any visible trace, thus making the protection totally invisible. Designed to keep contents secure and avoid leaking information during code execution, the VaultIC160 includes voltage, frequency and temperature detectors, illegal code execution prevention, tampering monitors and protection against side channel attacks and probing. The chip can also detect tampering attempts and destroy sensitive data on such events, thus avoiding data confidentiality being compromised.

Complementing the NFC interface is a simple software application that INSIDE Secure provides to the product manufacturers. Those manufacturers can customize the software to their products, branding message and other requirements. As they are shopping, consumers can use their cell phones to authenticate the product, or even to find out which retail outlet might have the desired product in stock if the vendor has a product-locator database available. INSIDE's VaultIC Starter Kit provides an easy path to mastering the cryptographic and secure data storage features of the VaultIC security module.

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