Maxim Launches Unclonable Security ICs

Cyberattacks continue making headlines and internet of things (IoT) devices have been a point of vulnerability — cybercrime damages are projected to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

Yet, design security remains an afterthought, with many engineers believing that implementing security is expensive, difficult, and time-consuming, or leaving it up to software to protect their systems. Additionally, when secure ICs are used, some are compromised by sophisticated, direct, silicon-level attacks that are commonly launched in an attempt to obtain cryptographic keys and secured data from these ICs.

The DS28E38 features Maxim’s ChipDNA physical unclonable function (PUF) technology, making it immune to invasive attacks because the ChipDNA-based root cryptographic key does not exist in memory or any other static state. Instead, Maxim’s PUF circuit relies on the naturally occurring random analog characteristics of fundamental MOSFET semiconductor devices to produce PR 18/2017 EN cryptographic keys. When needed, the circuit generates the per-device unique key, which instantly disappears when it is no longer in use.

If the DS28E38 were to come under an invasive physical attack, the attack would cause the sensitive electrical characteristics of the circuit to change, further impeding the breach. In addition to the protection benefits, ChipDNA technology simplifies or eliminates the need for complicated secure IC key management as the key can be used directly for cryptographic operations. The ChipDNA circuit has also demonstrated high reliability over process, voltage, temperature, and aging. Additionally, to address cryptographic quality, PUF output evaluation to the NIST-based randomness test suite was successful with pass results. Using the DS28E38, engineers can, from the start, build into their designs a defense against hacking. The IC is low-cost and simple to integrate into a customer’s design via Maxim’s single-contact 1-Wire interface combined with a low-complexity fixed-function command set including cryptographic

Key Advantages
• Highly secure: ChipDNA protected set of cryptographic tools including asymmetric (ECCP256) hardware engine, true random number generator (TRNG), decrement-only counter with authenticated read, 2Kb of secured electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM), and unique 64-bit ROM identification number;

• Easy to implement and cost-effective: single-contact operation with 1-Wire, no device-level firmware development, simplified key management, and free host-system software tools;

• Highly reliable: 5ppb PUF key-error rate (KER) achieved over time, temperature, and voltage.

“With Maxim’s ChipDNA PUF technology, the DS28E38 secure authenticator is highly effective and resistant against physical or black-box reverse engineering attacks,” said Michael Strizich, president, MicroNet Solutions Inc. “Even in a worst-case insider attack, the PUF-generated data is likely to remain protected due to the security features implemented by Maxim.”

“Designing in hardware-based security early on doesn’t require a lot of effort, resources, or time,” said Scott Jones, managing director of Embedded Security at Maxim Integrated. “With the ChipDNA technology-based DS28E38, designers can easily fortify their products with the highest level of protection. After all, you can’t steal a key that isn’t there.”

Availability and Pricing
• The DS28E38 is available at Maxim’s website and select authorized distributors for $0.83 (1000-up, FOB USA)
• An evaluation kit is available for $65.00
• More information on the DS28E38:


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