Validating a high performance programmable secure coprocessor

Often multiple levels of security need to be addressed to reduce the risk of tampering.Some considerations might include: Tamper means interfere with (something) without authority or so as to cause damage.

A user who breaks equipment by modifying it in a way not intended by the manufacturer might deny they did it, in order to claim the warranty or (mainly in the case of PCs) call the helpdesk for help in fixing it.

Tamper-evident seals may be enough to deal with this.

Correctly routing PCIe signal traces is a design challenge that few companies can handle well, and taking short cuts in single board computer and backplane designs which utilize the PCI Express interface will always result in suboptimal system performance particularly in rugged cyrptographic systems.

For example, it was previously best practice to keep PCIe traces well below 16 inches to ensure optimum performance, but updated PCIe specifications coupled with critical data throughput requirements in system security applications makes the PCIe trace length requirement even more restrictive.

In the US, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prevents manufacturers from voiding warranties solely due to tampering.

A warranty may be dishonored only if the tampering actually affected the part that has failed, and could have caused the failure.Nearly all appliances and accessories can only be opened with the use of a screwdriver (or a substitute item such as a nail file or kitchen knife).This prevents children and others who are careless or unaware of the dangers of opening the equipment from doing so and hurting themselves (from electrical shocks, burns or cuts, for example) or damaging the equipment.These considerations are critical in the design of the SBC and backplanes used in all of the Trenton Cryptographic Systems.For example, the IBM® 4767-002 PCIe Cryptographic Coprocessor Hardware Security Module (HSM) shown above with the HDB8228 PCI Express backplane is used in the TCS4504 4U cryptographic system.Examples of tamper-resistant chips include all secure cryptoprocessors, such as the IBM 4758 and chips used in smartcards, as well as the Clipper chip.

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