SSP Solutions Inc. and Atmel Corp. announced availability of USA (Universal Secure Access)-Forte, the industry’s fastest and most powerful smart card solution to date. As a 32-bit cryptographically enabled smart card, USA-Forte is a robust, multi-function, secure token specifically engineered to provide expanded storage and accelerated processing of complex cryptographic functions. Its innovative full-featured operating system, designed and developed by SSP Solutions, ensures that all sensitive information and data requiring protection and authentication can be quickly processed directly on the card without exposing any cryptographic tasks to the user’s PC, eliminating security compromises such as spoofing, Trojan horses or sniffers which have surfaced in recent attacks.
Atmel designs, manufactures and markets advanced logic semiconductors and SSP Solutions provides solutions and services that secure access control, provide strong authentication and real-time movement of financial transactions and other valued digital content.
The two firms, along with the SSP-Litronic division, have developed USA-Forte with guidance from the National Security Agency (NSA), and it is the only smart card designed and manufactured in the United States.
USA-Forte is powered by a high performance integrated circuit (IC) known by its Atmel designation AT91SC321RC, the only chip of its kind manufactured in the United States. This circuit is the only 32-bit ARM core-based chip capable of streaming encryption bandwidths up to 2Mbytes per second in smart card applications.
It uses an on-chip DES (data encryption standard) accelerator and a high-speed USB I/O port to support increased storage and fast on-card cryptographic processing.
“USA-Forte is an important security breakthrough — significantly advancing the capabilities of smart cards and the applications they enable,” said Richard Depew, president and chief operating officer, SSP Solutions. “As business and government face increased requirements for both physical and electronic security — as well as the need for adaptable solutions that can evolve with their changing needs — USA-Forte offers a powerful, flexible solution that can simultaneously support multiple security, business and consumer applications.”
Based on public key infrastructure (PKI) technology, USA-Forte is a “system on a chip,” offering high assurance on-card key generation and supporting both government and commercial encryption and signing algorithms. With 96K ROM and 64K EEPROM, USA-Forte delivers better performance in a smart card form factor than USB (universal serial bus) Crypto Tokens, and offers all the capabilities typically found on a high-end cryptographic PCMCIA card at a fraction of the cost. USA-Forte is also designed to meet FIPS 140-1, Level 3 validation — one of the highest forms of government security validation. “By working together, we have not only developed a powerful chip capable of supporting an extensive range of applications such as USB tokens, set-top boxes and point-of-sale terminals, we have also provided a powerful smart card solution that enables users to secure information in ways never before possible,” said Chris Baumann, director of BiCMOS and secure products, Atmel. USA-Forte provides an unprecedented level of on-card processing power for multiple applications, algorithms and protocols, and supports multiple public key algorithms for key exchange and digital signatures. USA-Forte allows for multiple certificate storage, and also supports the storage of application-specific data for industries that require a multi-function security token.
USA-Forte also incorporates Protected PIN Path (PPP), patented technology from SSP Solutions, that isolates PINs and biometric identification such as fingerprint, facial or subcutaneous palm recognition data, from networks, servers, PCs or other computing environments when being accessed to authenticate identity.
All matching of PINs and biometrics takes place directly on the card and never enters the hostile territory of the PC — promising stringent security for broad-ranging security applications such as employee verification, funds transfer, and granting of physical and electronic access. Also using patented technology from SSP Solutions, USA-Forte’s high performance on-card interface recognizes both ISO (International Standards Organization) 7816 and USB standards, and automatically selects one or both modes to process smart card data. The higher USB speed — about ten times faster than the maximum ISO throughput — is recognized through connections unused by ISO 7816. USA-Forte and the AT91SC321RC chip will begin shipping in first quarter 2002.
Founded in 1984, Atmel has headquarters in San Jose, Calif., with manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe. Atmel designs, manufactures and markets worldwide, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and RF semiconductors.
Atmel is also a leading provider of system-level integration semiconductor solutions and secure ICs using CMOS, BiCMOS, bipolar SiGe, and high-voltage BCDMOS process technologies. Atmel product and financial information are available via e-mail to email@example.com or by visiting Atmel’s Web site at [http://www.atmel.com].
About SSP Solutions
SSP Solutions develops and distributes the SSP(TM) Solution Suite of services, hardware, software, and embedded security products designed as the Trusted Symbol of the Digital Economy(TM). The company’s SSP-Litronic Division has a 30-year history of leading edge technology and data security solutions for government communications.
SSP products embed security and trust throughout the transaction chain protecting electronic communications and financial transactions, physical and electronic access, and the exchange of copyrighted digital content. By combining its own technology with a range of partners’ technologies and intellectual properties, SSP products represent the first, open embedded security architecture simultaneously supporting public key infrastructure (PKI) and multiple standards of digital rights management.
SSP’s custom-made enterprise security solutions address digital rights management, financial services, government, entertainment, health care, and education — and form the heart of a ten-year alliance with Electronic Data Systems (NYSE:EDS), the nation’s largest systems integrator and a global leader in information assurance.
For additional company information, visit or call 949/851-1085.