Infineon wins prestigious IT security award

IFX_SicherheitspreisDr. Berndt Gammel, Dr. Wieland Fischer and Dr. Stefan Mangard of Infineon Technologies AGwere awarded the Horst Goertz-Foundation’s German Prize for IT Security. Their research project “Cryptographic Protocol with Inherent Side-Channel Resistance” was honored with the 1st prize at this year’s awards ceremony. The project describes an innovative encryption scheme that offers data security for price-sensitive mass market products.

This procedure protects applications such as electronic public transport tickets, event tickets, library cards, or ski passes more efficiently against manipulation and counterfeiting than existing solutions. 

The German Prize for IT Security has been awarded every two years since 2006. Its goal is to recognize and promote IT security “Made in Germany”. Project submissions are not only judged according to their degree of innovation but also according to their economic potential. 160 representatives from politics, business and science were invited to the awards ceremony in Darmstadt today.

Our chip-based security products help to improve data security in an increasingly connected world,” said Dr. Stefan Hofschen, President of the Chip Card & Security Division of Infineon Technologies AG.We are particularly pleased about the German Prize for IT Security, as it recognizes our competence in innovative technologies – from basic research all the way to developing customized end products.” 

The authentication procedure and secure data transmission of CIPURSE™, the open standard for secure access control and fare collection in public transport, are based on this new encryption scheme. Infineon already produces CIPURSE-compliant security chips for access control and electronic ticketing for public transport systems. 

Encryption schemes are the foundation of data security 

Encryption schemes protect data against criminal attacks with the aid of secret keys. These keys are the foundation of data security in all applications that are based on cryptography: from simple ski passes to electronic identification cards. 

In practice, so-called side-channel attacks pose the greatest threat to secret keys. Side-channel attacks can extract information about a secret key by analyzing a chip’s power supply or electromagnetic field, for example. Protection against such side-channel attacks is complex and is usually associated with significant costs. 

The new cryptographic protocol developed at Infineon by the three scientists combines classic cryptographic components based on AES-128 encryption with new protocol elements that protect against side-channel attacks. Until now, measures against side-channel attacks were always built into the cryptographic components. This is very costly, however, and only effective to a limited degree. Combining the novel protocol elements with the cryptographic standard algorithms eliminates expensive conventional countermeasures when implementing the cryptographic algorithms.

Further information on the German Prize for Information Security is available at http://www.horst-goertz.de.

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