BroadKey: Root of Trust

See how BroadKey is used to implement a root of trust, created using invisible and unclonable keys to form the immutable identity of a device.

Whether you are designing a new product for the Internet of Things or have already deployed one in the field, at some point you need to think about IoT security. For instance, are you worried that your IoT device might get cloned? Or might be running rogue software? Or that a hacker could steal your or your customer’s software IP – the company’s crown jewels? Do you worry about the integrity of the data sent by your IoT device? Or the integrity of the device itself?

If you have these concerns, then you need to protect your IoT device with a hardware root of trust. A root of trust is a component on top of which all trust and security of a system is built. A good implementation delivers an anchor for the chain of trust within — and connectivity beyond — an IoT device.

The good news: Intrinsic ID offers two products – BroadKey and QuiddiKey – for implementing a root of trust, created using invisible and unclonable keys to form the immutable identity of a device. You can use either product, depending on your particular design constraints, resources, timeline and security philosophy.

Both BroadKey and QuiddiKey are based on our patented SRAM PUF technology – technology that has been used to secure more than 100 million devices and is a pivotal enabler of the scaling of IoT to the promise of trillions. Intrinsic ID delivers security that is right-sized and total cost of ownership friendly. QuiddiKey is hardware IP, delivered as RTL netlist and easily integrated in any semiconductor device.

Today we’ll focus on BroadKey, which is software that can be ported to any semiconductor or smart device. In fact, BroadKey is the first product to enable remote brownfield deployment of a hardware root of trust.

How does BroadKey implement a root of trust?

The licensee first decides which flavor of BroadKey – BroadKey-Safe, BroadKey-Plus or BroadKey-Pro – is best suited to the required use case. When you license BroadKey, you receive the C libraries, header files, documentation, app notes and optional software tools for provisioning.

After the appropriate amount of SRAM is allocated, a security perimeter is established, which includes blocking access to the BroadKey-allocated SRAM and the BroadKey code itself, and consistent with other security architectural best practices.

To provision the device and create the root of trust, the device must first be enrolled. When and where can this happen? As early as manufacturing or as late as in the field — even after deployment.

It is during enrollment that an Activation Code is created. The Activation Code is used in combination with the SRAM readout to generate a device-unique root key for this device. This key is never stored and can be recreated “on the fly” when needed. This approach ensures unprecedented protection of the device root key.

From the device-unique root key, a private and public key pair is created. The private key is also not stored anywhere, and never leaves the device. The public key is stored on the device and acts as the device’s public identity. Combined with a device-unique certificate – which can be self certified or issued by a certificate authority – it serves as the device’s passport. Proof that it’s legitimate.

With this certificate you’re ready to authenticate the device to a cloud-based server, or to any other connected device.

That’s it! The device is operational and secure.

So whether you are developing a new product connected to the IoT and need to make sure it’s secure, or your product is already deployed and you want to upgrade its security, BroadKey lets you secure your product with unclonable identities.

Contact Intrinsic ID to find out BroadKey can protect your IoT-connected product.

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