Batteries and Portable Power

Atmel Introduces Low Power Cryptographic Battery Authentication IC With SHA-256

Atmel Corp. announced its AT88SA100S ultra low-cost, cryptographic battery authentication IC for mobile-phones, cameras, portable power tools, and other battery-powered applications. The AT88SA100S CrytpoAuthentication™ IC is said to be the only battery authentication IC that uses a SHA-256 cryptographic engine and a 256-bit key that cannot be cracked using brute force methods. It is used to protect mobile phones, portable power tools, cameras, and other microcontroller-based products from counterfeit battery packs.

According to Atmel, counterfeit batteries are often less expensive than those provided by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) because they often do not have appropriate protective mechanisms to prevent short circuits, abnormal heat or leakage, ignition, rupture and other malfunctions. They also are likely to lose their charge sooner and wear out more quickly than authentic battery packs. It is estimated that 75% of the replacement batteries sold are clones.

The AT88SA100S ensures replacement batteries meet the product manufacturer’s standards by providing secure, reliable authentication that can be used to prevent product operation and/or charging with counterfeit product.

The AT88SA100S has 256-bits of SRAM for key storage, a guaranteed unique 48-bit serial number stored permanently inside the chip and 88 one-time, user-programmable fuses that can be used for the storage of battery parameters or status information. The 256-bit key is stored in the on-chip SRAM at the battery manufacturer’s site and is powered by the battery pack itself. Physical attacks to retrieve the key are very difficult to effect because removing the CryptoAuthentication chip from the battery erases the SRAM memory, rendering the chip useless.

Battery authentication is based on a "challenge/response" protocol between the microcontroller in the portable end-product (host) and the CrytpoAuthentication IC in the battery (client).

In order to speed system design, Atmel provides complete ARM®- and AVR®-compatible source code libraries that implement all necessary cryptographic modules for performing the host-side authentication capability. The AT88SA100S requires only a single GPIO pin on the host processor and only three wires on the connector to the battery, plus a standard bypass capacitor for a low overall BOM impact.

The AT88SA100S battery authentication IC is available now in production quantities in a 1.3mm x 3mm, green-compliant (exceeds RoHS) 3-pin SOT-23 package. The units are priced at $0.65 in quantities of 1K units.

Atmel Corp.
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