NUREMBERG, Germany, February 26 /PRNewswire/ --

- Atmel's CryptoCompanion IC Eliminates the Need for Designers to Understand Complex Cryptographic Protocols and Algorithms

Embedded World -- Atmel(R) Corporation (Nasdaq: ATML), today announced its CryptoCompanion(TM) chip providing plug-and-play host-side cryptographic security for embedded systems that are prone to counterfeiting, firmware theft and the violation of licensing agreements. This plug-and-play convenience means that designers do not have to design or test the cryptographic algorithms. Systems likely to fall victim to counterfeiting schemes include printers and printer cartridges, appliances with smart batteries, set top boxes, video game consoles, video game cartridges, PDAs, GPS, and any system with proprietary algorithms or secrets. According to the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition the problem of product counterfeiting has grown over 10,000% in the last two decades.(1)

Until now, using very complex microprocessors, costing as much as US$5 each, was a common implementation to achieve true security for confidential host algorithms and keys. Their complexity including the requirement of special firmware or operating systems, extensive cryptographic experience on the part of the engineer and their high cost has hindered their adoption.

Atmel's CryptoCompanion chip, when used with Atmel's CryptoMemory(R) and CryptoRF(R) devices provides a highly secure, hardware-based total solution for less than half the cost of complex microprocessors. Atmel's AT88SC016 CryptoCompanion chip is a completely engineered, single-chip host solution that implements host algorithms and securely stores and manages the host secrets required for secure communications. It integrates hardware cryptographic engines, a cryptographic quality hardware random number generator, and securely manages up to 16 host keys. The CryptoCompanion executes all host-side operations including mutual authentication, data encryption, firmware integrity verification, and generation of Message Authentication Codes (MAC) for secure communication. Using the CryptoCompanion chip, system developers do not need any knowledge of how to implement cryptographic algorithms in order to develop complete secure applications using CryptoMemory or CryptoRF.

This chip can also be used to create and manage up to 16 different memory sectors on Crypto devices, each of which can have different levels of read/write access with individual encryption and authentication keys and passwords. CryptoMemory and CryptoRF have encryption keys and algorithms that are completely inaccessible and, therefore, cannot be stolen or copied.

CryptoMemory devices are the world's only EEPROMs with a 64-bit embedded hardware cryptographic engine, four sets of non-readable 64-bit authentication keys, and four sets of non-readable 64-bit session encryption keys. CryptoMemory's 64-bit crypto engine provides a strength-of-function that is much greater than the commonly used 48-bit key length and even better than the 56-bit key in the widely used DES algorithm. CryptoMemory features dual authentication capability, up to 256 Kbits of usable memory, each with up to 16 individually configurable sectors. It supports a 2-Wire and an IS0 7816-3 in T=0 mode communications interfaces. Atmel's 13.56 MHz CryptoRF devices are secure RFID devices that embed the same cryptographic capability and features as CryptoMemory in hardware, and comes with up to 64 Kbits of usable memory.

Pricing and Packaging. Atmel's AT88SC016 CryptoCompanion chip is available now in standard 8-pin SOIC packages and supports a 2-wire interface. It is priced at 50 cents in volumes of 25,000 units. CryptoMemory and CryptoRF devices are in volume production in a variety of configurations and memory densities, and are priced from 30 cents and 75 cents, respectively, in quantities of 25,000 units.

(1) The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, Media Information, web report URL:

About Atmel

Atmel is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry's broadest intellectual property (IP) technology portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions focused on consumer, industrial, security, communications, computing and automotive markets.

(C) 2008 Atmel Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Atmel(R), logo and combinations thereof, CryptoMemory(R) and CryptoRF(R) and others are registered trademarks or trademarks of Atmel Corporation. CryptoCompanion(TM) is a trademark of Atmel Corporation. Other terms and product names may be the trademarks of others.


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Press Contacts Sharon Harnisch, Marketing Communications Manager Tel: +1-719-540-1723, Email: Helen Perlegos, Public Relations Tel: +1-408-487-2963, Email: Web site:

Sharon Harnisch, Marketing Communications Manager, +1-719-540-1723,, or Helen Perlegos, Public Relations, +1-408-487-2963,, both of Atmel Corporation