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ARM to add cryptographic functionality to smartcards

ARM reported the licensing of the cryptographic core from SafeNet, VPN technologies developer. This indicates the trend of increasing information security of various consumer and business tasks from mobile terminals to smartcards.

After signing the agreement with SafeNet, ARM gets rights to provide its partners the hardware acceleration of cryptographic tasks. As it´s mainly about mobile devices, most likely, such systems will distantly resemble the high-performance version of the SafeNet core, used in ATM equipment. The SafeNet core, licensed by ARM, has been developed particularly for company´s architecture.

Speaking about smartcards, the market is to change considerably during the next several years, according to Schlumberger smartcard sales department report. Besides releases of new multifunctional and Java cards, Schlumberger forecasts that public-key infrastructure (PKI) will gain dominating importance for 2.5G and 3G networking, authorising applications and enterprise IT-infrastructuring. As PKI requires longer keys for higher security levels, some cryptographic functions will need to be implemented into smartcard itself.

And some words about the SafeNet core itself. SafeNet EIP-25 require about 5 mA and perform one SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) transaction per 100 ms (0.1 s). The chips feature ARM´s Amba AHB Bus.

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