editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Hardware Security in the Cloud

Some time back, we covered “physically unclonable functions,” or PUFs. These are techniques for deriving a key from the random characteristics of a specific piece of hardware, making it unique to that hardware and therefore unclonable by others. One of the companies covered was Intrinsic ID.

Intrinsic ID has now taken a step to make what is otherwise a low-level wonky technology available at the consumer and corporate level. They have created a cloud portal where data can be stored securely, accessible only by your computer or a computer with which you share your key.

The portal is called Saturnus, and it allows the uploading (and downloading) of any type of file. The key – so to speak – to how it works is in the security. And therein lies also a hitch, for the time being.

The system works with computers having “HIS” – Hardware Intrinsic Security. This is Intrinsic ID’s hardware key system that relies on the random state of SRAM when the system boots up. The bad news: your computer probably doesn’t have HIS on it. The good news: Intrinsic ID says that they have investigated a wide range of devices – computers, phones, etc. – and have found that all can have HIS installed; it’s not something that has to be factory-built. More good news: you’ll be able to purchase HIS for your systems. The bad news: it’s not available yet.

With HIS, you get a key that only resides on your machine. You can share that key with other systems so that only machines you’ve shared with can access your Saturnus account. So, for instance, you could have your desktop, laptop, and phone set up to get to your secured goods. You can also use random computers in cafes if you have a dongle containing the HIS information. (Just remember to take it out of the computer when you’re done.)

This launch seems somewhat premature in that no one can use Saturnus without HIS, which isn’t for sale yet. Likewise, I don’t have a good sense that the dongle solution actually exists today. The statement “You can do this” can often mean one of two things: “You can do this (today with product on the shelf)” or “You can (theoretically) do this (once someone actually develops the idea into a product).” My sense was this is a bit more of the latter than the former. But it will be an interesting approach once all the pieces are in place.

You can find more in their release

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Mar 26, 2019
It's CDNLive! Well, not today, Tuesday and Wednesday, April 2nd and 3rd at the Santa Clara Convention Center. So I have eight things you can do to get the most out of CDNLive and go home with a... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community si...
Mar 25, 2019
Do you ever use the same constraint templates in multiple projects? Now, with PADS Professional VX.2.5, you can easily import and export constraints from one project to the next. Constraint templates enable application of complex rules to multiple nets. They help ensure a smo...
Mar 22, 2019
In the video above, it might not appear that much is taking place, but just like with transformers there is “more than meets the eye.” Alright, that was corny, and I am mildly ashamed, but Nanosecond Event Detection for shock and vibration is nothing to be ashamed...
Jan 25, 2019
Let'€™s face it: We'€™re addicted to SRAM. It'€™s big, it'€™s power-hungry, but it'€™s fast. And no matter how much we complain about it, we still use it. Because we don'€™t have anything better in the mainstream yet. We'€™ve looked at attempts to improve conven...