Broadcom claims cryptography first as it enhances STB security

Editor | 04-01-2013

Broadcom is claiming a world’s first in enabling Cryptography Research (CRI) differential power analysis (DPA) countermeasures across its line of set-top boxes (STBs).

The result, says the semiconductor solutions provider, will be that by embedding Cryptography Research in such a way, broadcasters will be able to securely expand services and premium content delivery methods for multiscreen and online TV experiences.

It notes that strong countermeasures to DPA are important for securing pay-TV systems, mobile devices, bank cards, secure identity products, secure storage media, anti-tamper products, and other electronic systems and components.DPA attacks involve measuring a device’s power consumption or RF emissions, then using a PC to compromise secret keys by analysing correlations in these measurements.

“The security of the video passing through a set-top box depends on the security of the conditional access systems, which in turn depends on the security of the chips inside.

"In particular, set-top box chips manage the cryptographic keys that protect both incoming video (e.g., by satellite, cable, terrestrial, or Internet) as well as how the video is used (e.g., HDCP, DLNA, etc.),” explained Paul Kocher, president and chief scientist at Cryptography Research. “The new security countermeasures help defend Broadcom chips against DPA and related non-invasive 'side channel' attacks.”

“Broadcom is committed to enabling secure pay-TV environments worldwide,” added Dan Marotta, Broadcom’s executive vice president and general manager, broadband communications group. “By licensing and integrating Cryptography Research’s DPA countermeasures, Broadcom ensures its customers are protected as even further content security requirements emerge. This enables our customers to design and deploy new ways to enjoy premium content and interact with their television.”