Owners of physical objects like silver or gold but also of documents like security papers and licenses of value put them into safe environments to protect against damage or even theft. Environments we all know and trust are mostly defined through constructional measures. Examples are safes in the basement of a bank. However, how can we arrange such a protection for digital values even in unsafe mobile environments like cell phones and other nomadic gadgets? Let’s have a look onto the following figure:
The nano-safe strategy follows the concept of a bank vault, however built mainly from nano-sized silicon instead of sheathed steel and reinforced concrete. Known in the literature as Hardware-Security-Modules (HSM), these types of electronic safes provide physical security through a strong tamper-protected encasement for everything they contain inside the security parameter. Quantifiable physical values like burglary resistance, but also the holding capacity are important factors of the safety metrification. Our nano-safe based System-on-Chip (SoC) underpins on a combination of measures to conduct a secure inclusion of the inside secrets (yellow marked) and the utilization of cryptographic protocols (blue marked).
If such a security vault integrates also the necessary intelligence in form of CPUs and DSPs together with memory and embedded software, it is capable to act in and enforce the security interests of the designers using a flexible policy control approach. This is the way to put security at work autonomically self-reliant in unfriendly environments. We consider such a system as suitable to protect our eCoins and other intellectual property based on credentials. It has been our first priority to implement a calculatable high hurdle to signalize the hacker community it will be better to stay legally because it is cheaper. Such an approach not only limits the inherent system risks, if e.g. details of the countermeasures are leaked to the Internet, but also allows us a qualified comparison of concurrent security systems. The hardening grade of a solid cryptographic designed nano-safe has to be determined on the base of an acceptable cost compromise, so that it is economically nonviable to hack or crack.