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RIM subsidiary licenses a cryptography chip

Specialist chips for the men in black to crack
Mon Jun 06 2011, 13:41

SMARTPHONE DEVELOPER Research in Motion (RIM) has had one of its subsidiaries that specalises in elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) license chips from Cortus.

Certicom, a wholly owned subsidiary of RIM that concentrates on ECC technology, has licensed Cortus' APS3 CPU for its hardware security technology. According to Cortus the chip will enable Certicom to 'securely manage assets' from the bare silicon all the way up its software stack.

The Cortus APS3 is a 32-bit processor that is designed for embedded systems, though the firm says that for demanding applications the APS3 can be used in multi-core configurations. The chip is currently found in security systems, so it not surprising that Certicom took a shine to it.

Dan O'Loughlin, director of hardware technology at Certicom said, "The APS3 helped us meet our design goals and provided the required processing performance. The APS3 co-processor interface allowed the integration of our specific algorithm elements directly into the instruction set enabling efficient firmware to be developed."

One of RIM's big selling points is the security of its messaging systems. Although the Cortus APS3 is unlikely to find itself in frontline work in consumer's handsets, it could be put to work on back office tasks to provide encryption of data being sent to and from Blackberry handsets. µ


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