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Certicom Promises Security for Large-Scale Wireless Sensor Networks

April 3, 2006

Elliptic-curve cryptography (ECC) endows sensor devices with "provable identity" for security and reliability. Technology promises to enable low-power sensor networks on a massive scale.


Elliptic-curve cryptography (ECC) endows sensor devices with "provable identity" for security and reliability. Technology promises to enable low-power sensor networks on a massive scale.

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Canada /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Certicom Corp. today launched Certicom Security for Sensor Networks, a software module and hardware IP core that secures low-power, wireless sensor networks. The products use elliptic-curve cryptography (ECC) to add a provable identity to sensor devices, which provides security and reliability from design and development through to the manufacturing, deployment and upgrade of a sensor network.

Today's wireless sensor networks are generally small (fewer than 100 nodes) so symmetric cryptography with centralized control of security is sufficient. However, for sensor networks to reach their potential - to build large, self-healing networks that allow nodes to move as necessary, developers of microcontrollers and sensor networking stacks must move to public-key cryptography, which enables devices to interact and communicate securely. ECC provides more security per bit than other public-key cryptography schemes making it the only option that can meet the footprint and power limitations of a sensor network's constrained devices.

"Security is becoming increasingly critical for wireless sensor network applications, but it needs to operate within the resource and power constraints of a sensor environment," said Joerg Bertholdt, vice president of marketing, Crossbow Technology. "We chose to partner with Certicom because of their experience in providing security solutions for resource-constrained devices and their ECC expertise. With products from Crossbow and Certicom, OEMs will have a hardware and software solution that allows them to bring secure, reliable, wireless sensors to market quickly and cost effectively."

Certicom Security For Sensor Networks includes: Certicom MCE (Microcontroller Edition), a software module that provides cryptographic primitives that interface with the networking stack through a common application programming interface; and Certicom ECC Core a hardware IP core that accelerates and offloads the processor-intensive public-key security operations.

Features and benefits
Provides provable identity: A stored public and private key pair provides a digitally provable identity and facilitates digital signatures and secure key exchange

Flexibility: Node mobility and automated network enrollment methods enable more flexible topologies and a wider variety of applications

Optimized performance: optimized software cryptography and hardware acceleration deliver strong security without impacting network performance

Simplifies network deployment: Provable identity authenticates a node automatically and enables mobility across multiple networks

Reduced cost of ownership: Improved network reliability, simplified management, and no hand-provisioning of nodes reduces the cost of ownership

"The ability for low-power nodes to capture information and communicate with each other wirelessly offers endless possibilities from helping to prevent equipment failures and physical security breaches to improving safety and energy control," said Mitch Blaser, Certicom's product manager. "However, without building strong security in up-front, sensor network adoption could suffer due to similar security pitfalls that slowed the adoption of technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi."

Certicom Security for Sensor Networks is available this quarter. The price may include developer licenses, royalties, support and services depending on the customer's revenue model and requirements.

About Certicom
Certicom protects the value of your content, software and devices with government-approved security. Adopted by the National Security Agency (NSA) for classified and sensitive but unclassified government communications, Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) provides the most security per bit of any known public-key scheme. As the undisputed leader in ECC, Certicom security offerings are currently licensed to more than 300 customers including General Dynamics, Motorola, Oracle, Research In Motion and Unisys. Founded in 1985, Certicom's corporate offices are in Mississauga, ON, Canada with worldwide sales headquarters in Reston, VA and offices in the US, Canada and Europe.


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