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Image High Security Smart Cards

Use of state-of-the-art semiconductor technology is opening the way to high volume application of high security smart cards in areas from banking to healthcare.


The past ten years have seen continuous evolution of smart card technology, with an explosion in applications in the last few years. Alongside this growing demand are higher security requirements. Crypto IC-Card is following this trend, developing high security smart cards for use in applications such as telecommunications, banking and healthcare. Crypto IC-Card has applied state-of-the-art semiconductor technology to overcome many of the problems of conventional security products. This has been achieved through an innovative implementation for the computing power necessary for the execution of Image cryptographic, assymetric algorithms in a silicon area small enough to be integrated into microcontroller chips for smart cards. The technique has proved that mass production of high security smart cards is both technically and economically feasible.

Business perspective

Demand for high security authentication and encryption devices is considerable. Until recently, state-of-the-art security products used either large-area silicon chips, which have the major disadvantages of high cost, low speed and unsuitability for integration into chipcards, or software-based solutions, again with unacceptably low execution speed and lack of security. For certain security components there are no real alternatives to cryptocontroller smart cards, as crytographic keys must be managed in a secure area. The Crypto IC-Card therefore combines the benefits of secure key storage, key handling and crytographic processing, with the added advantage of being a personal security device which the owner can keep in their pocket and take everywhere.

Technical perspective

The use of asymetrical algorithms, based on modular arithmetic, is essential in providing the high level of security needed in chipcard ICs. The specification of the Crypto IC-card functionality is based on this fundamental aspect, thus the most important feature is the asymmetric authentication procedure based on a secure signature mechanism. To account for the many smart card applications as efficiently as possible, a standard microprocessor concept is used, an 8051-compatible configuration for the controller core to provide the main processing. To satisfy performance requirements the basic architectural concept includes an additional hardware unit specially designed and optimised to execute modular arithmetic operations - the crypto coprocessor. This special architecture enhances the performance of smart card implementations with respect to asymmetrical authentication protocols. The chosen architecture and the incorporation of a co-processor permits a clear separation of the different functions of the co-processor and the main processor. This enables a transparent programme structure, which eases programming.


The most apparent applications of Crypto IC-Card are in the field of components for security access, for example access control to highly sensitive computer networks; access to various banking schemes from electronic purses to electronic commerce; in healthcare applications; authentication of electronic documents; secure telecommunications; and even pay TV. The market potential is immense and the cryptocontroller chipcard is on the threshold of high volume application.

Contact Point

Siemens AG
Semiconductors Group HL ST KAV VS
POB 801709
D-81716 M√ľnchen

Research Area Multimedia Systems

Project Crypto IC-Card

Related Results CAFE

Keywords cryptography, public key;data security; electronic payments; smart cards;

Project Participants
Bull CP8 FR
Siemens AG DE

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