VoIP Security Made Intrinsic by Partnership with Dialog Semiconductor

By Peter Bernstein April 27, 2012

It is not often, and probably not often enough, that attention is given to things in security in the Voice over IP (VoIP) space. After all, open source should not be confused with open access for those with malicious intent. 

It is for that reason that we should examine an announcement from the Netherlands that Dialog Semiconductor has followed up its recent release of a Green high performance chipset for high-end VoIP devices with the revelation, making available the Dialog Semiconductor SC14453S, the world’s first commercially available Voice over IP (VoIP) processor circuit that integrates Intrinsic-ID’s patented Hardware Intrinsic Security IP – also referred to as Physical Unclonable Function (PUF).

The company explains that in Hardware Intrinsic Security (HIS) technology, a secret key is extracted like a silicon biometric or fingerprint from silicon hardware directly and only when required. By using this HIS-based fingerprint a firm binding of software and hardware is possible, offering superior levels of anti-tampering and anti-cloning characteristics.

The bottom line is that this ensures that only authenticated software can run on the SC14453S platform. A message authentication tag for a bootloader or software image of a particular customer is securely stored with the HIS IP of Intrinsic-ID, without the need for embedded non-volatile memory.

Both Dialog Semiconductor and Intrinsic are naturally pleased, reflected in the Intrinsic-ID announcement.

“We selected Intrinsic-ID’s HIS technology because of its proven reliability, ease of integration and cost-effective silicon area footprint,” said René Kohlmann, senior director at Dialog Semiconductor. “The resulting SafeKey solution for secure boot is programmable while at the same time providing authentication and top-level security.”

“Dialog Semiconductor takes a lead position in providing the highest level of security in the VOIP processor market,” said Tony Picard, VP Business Development at Intrinsic-ID. “Our HIS-based security IP enables Dialog Semiconductor’s customers to ensure the integrity of their differentiating software with the highest level of anti-virus protection, through protecting their software with the electronic fingerprint that is unique for every device, making chips unclonable.”

Interestingly, since it became popular, VoIP has been the subject of some security concerns going in two directions. First, because it is digital there was a fear that it was going to make phone systems subject of malware and things like denial of service attacks. Conversely, there has been a fear on the part of law enforcement authorities that highly secure VoIP would make it impossible to use traditional wire-tapping technology to track bad actors. 

All of this still remains a subject of industry interest, but also of user concern. Indeed, security and risk management is so crucial in enterprises today that assuring the confidentiality of critical communications is a huge but not usually discussed concern of IT managers around the world.

This newly announced integration from Dialog Semiconductor and Intrinsic-ID is going to be welcome news to device manufacturers looking to address the growing interest in VoIP they can trust.

Edited by Braden Becker
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