Development of a Dedicated Microprocessor with a Universal Crypto Coprocessor and its Integration into High-Security IC Cards


Keywords encryption, data security, smart cards, peripherals

Start Date: 09-JAN-90 / Duration: 36 months

[ contact / participants ]

Objectives and Approach

The demand for secure data systems is increasing, and hardware and software protection is needed to improve current password solutions. The most modern protection for end-to-end data or message encryption uses public key methods, as represented by the RSA or Fiat Shamir Algorithms. State-of-the-art products use large-area silicon chips, which have the disadvantage of high cost at low speed; their integration into chipcards is impossible.

The CRYPTOCARD project aims to find new semiconductor-based solutions and to demonstrate the effectiveness of employing a secure chipcard with a dedicated coprocessor for fast asymmetric encryption procedures. This solution will strengthen the use of open system architectures as proposed in the ITHACA projects (2121 and 2705). The two main partners (Siemens for the semiconductor work and Bull for the application) will share their experience with all interested partners in the ITHACA team.

The results will be open to the European information industry to set standards for the encryption and for user-friendly software to be implemented on the microprocessor chips. Beside the generic information technology, special applications of the chipcard IC will be in:

One important goal is to achieve high flexibility in that a variety of algorithms (such as public key methods, symmetric methods and zero knowledge algorithms) can be handled by the new chip.

Progress and Results

The first silicon of the crypto coprocessor has been successfully tested. The results are: RSA encryption/decryption of 540 bit word-length is done in less than 0.3 ms at 50 MHz internal clock-rate. The active area is small enough to use the chip in a chip card. The chips of the coprocessor are available in DIL packages. Crypto IC chips (SLE 44C20) became available in November 1992, and the emulator and demonstrator hardware and software at the same time. A basic application program is now available. The crypto IC card itself was completed in June 1993 at the conclusion of the project.


Mr Jürgen Hammerschmitt
Balanstr. 73
D - 8000 MÜNCHEN 80
tel: + 49/ 89-4144-4604
fax: + 49/ 89-4144-4071
telex: 89706972 SIEMCH



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CRYPTOCARD - 2704, December 1993

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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook