Atmel Rhino+ USB Demonstration/Evaluation Kit for SHA-256 Cryptographic Authentication Chip

$19.99 kit allows developers and potential customers to evaluate the capabilities of CryptoAuthentication for preventing counterfeiting of medical and electronic consumables, maintain authenticity of end-product firmware, and protect sensitive transmitted data.

SAN JOSE, Calif., May 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Atmel(R) Corporation (NASDAQ: ATML) announced today its AT88SA-ADK1 Rhino+ AVR(R) -based development kit for its AT88SA102S CryptoAuthentication(TM) IC. Atmel's AT88SA102S device is the industry's most secure authentication IC, with an embedded SHA-256 engine and 256-bit cryptographic key that make it virtually impossible to crack using brute force methods. The nearest competing authentication IC has a key size of only 128 bits. Priced at less than $1, the AT88SA102S CryptoAuthentication IC is more secure and costs 40% to 60% less than competing solutions.

The Rhino+ kit is a small USB PCB with an on-board AT88SA102S CryptoAuthentication IC that uses a SHA-256 algorithm. An AVR microcontroller on the board is preloaded with embedded software to implement the required single wire communication protocol. Demonstration and application development software may be downloaded from

Designers simply plug the Rhino+ key into a USB slot on their PC and download the software to evaluate the cryptographic capabilities of the device. The AT88SA102S CryptoAuthentication IC may be used to protect batteries, ink cartridges, test strips, blood bags, breathing tubes, and other electronic and medical consumables from cloning or counterfeiting. They can also be used to securely transmit data, such as satellite radio broadcasts or medical records, protect end-products from malicious firmware updates and validate software or media modules. The Rhino+ kit may also be used as is for end-product deployment in PC-based applications, such as personnel identification or data/software authentication.

Authentication. The SHA-256 algorithm in the CryptoAuthentication device authenticates by using a "challenge/response" operation between the microcontroller or host device and client. The host could be a portable power tool, printer, medical test equipment, or even a satellite radio transmitter. The corresponding client could be the battery used in the power tool, an ink cartridge, a medical consumable, or a satellite radio.

Session Key Exchange. In the case of protecting data transfer, such as a broadcast to a satellite radio, the transmitting system sends a random number to a SHA-256 algorithm along with the 256-bit key value stored in the AT88SA102S on the authorized receiving nodes. The response of the SHA-256 algorithm is then used as the encryption key to encrypt the transmission. The encrypted message is then transmitted along with the random number used as a challenge. On the receiving side the random challenge is fed into the onboard AT88SA102S and the response is used to decrypt the message. Only an authentic client-radio containing an AT88SA102S with the correct secret will be able to properly decrypt the transmission.

Ultra-low Power Consumption. Authentication ICs spend a small percentage of their time active, so sleep mode power consumption is the most important power consumption metric. With sleep mode power consumption of less than 100 nanoamps (nA), Atmel's AT88SA102S CryptoAuthentication ICs should have virtually no impact on system battery life. Supply voltage for the AT88SA102S is 2.5V to 5.5V.

Availability and Pricing. The AT88SA-DK1 Rhino+ CryptoAuthentication development kit is available now through distribution for $19.99.

Atmel's AT88SA102S CryptoAuthentication IC is available now in a SOT23 package and is priced at $0.66 in quantities of 100. Additional AT88SA family members will be introduced during 2009.

About Atmel

Atmel is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry's broadest intellectual property (IP) technology portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions focused on consumer, industrial, security, communications, computing and automotive markets.

(C) 2009 Atmel Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Atmel(R), Atmel logo and combinations thereof, Everywhere You Are(R), and others, are registered trademarks, CryptoAuthentication(TM) and others are trademarks of Atmel Corporation or its subsidiaries. Other terms and product names may be trademarks of others.


Product information on Atmel's AT88SA-DK1 Rhino+ CryptoAuthentication development kit may be retrieved at:

    Press Contacts:
    Sharon Harnisch, Marketing Communications
    Tel: +1 719 540-1723, Email:
    Helen Perlegos, Public Relations
    Tel: +1 408 487-2963, Email:

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