Infineon launches authentication chip for electronic devices

The seemingly unstoppable rise of connected electronic devices has been accompanied by an increased risk of counterfeit spare parts that can put devices and users at risk of damage, injury or data leakage.

To tackle the problem, semiconductor specialist Infineon has introduced a new anticounterfeit chip – called Optiga Authenticate IDoT (Identity of Things) – that can be used to protect consumer devices, home appliances and industrial machines using ECC (elliptic curve cryptography) security algorithms.

The devices can be incorporated into a consumable product for example so that it can communicate with the main piece of equipment – such as a water filtration unit for example – to ensure that it is a genuine part, working correctly and not at risk of failure.

At the same time, the new component can even tell if it has been installed in a genuine machine, according to Infineon, which says the device can work across a temperature range of -40° to +120 °C so is suitable for extreme industrial applications.

Anti-Counterfeit Packaging Market by Technology, End-Use Industry and Region - Global Forecast to 2025

“Fakes can compromise functionality, user safety and – as a result – brand value,” according to the company. “Optiga Authenticate IDoT can solve this problem. It is a fully fledged, tailored hardware-based security solution for any device authentication challenge.”

Aside from consumable like HVAC and water filters and purifiers, the device also lends itself to cartridges, rechargeable batteries for smartphones, portable devices, e-scooters, e-motorbikes and other light electric vehicles (LEVs), as well as computing and robotic systems, says Infineon.

Designers can select from four different authentication modes, three temperature ranges, two communication profiles and three sets of memory, all in a device measuring 1.5mm x 1.55mm x 0.38mm.

The counterfeit chip market is hard to gauge, but recent market research reports suggest it could have a worldwide value of $75bn in 2019, with fake components integrated into more than $169bn of electronic devices.

Fake chips can take many forms, including reverse engineered copies of genuine products, grey market chips that have perhaps failed quality testing and yet are still put on sale, or reconditioned old parts badged up as being new.

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