Integrity Guard – Security for a Networked World

(f.l.t.r.) Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Wenzel, Dr.-Ing. Stefan Rüping, Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Marcus Janke

Dr.-Ing. Stefan Rüping (Spokesperson)
Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Marcus Janke
Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Wenzel

Infineon Technologies AG, Neubiberg

More and more data worldwide is being recorded, processed, stored and exchanged in digital format. Yet in our networked world it is all the more vital that electronic communication takes place not just rapidly, but that maximum data security is guaranteed. But how can sensitive and personal data be protected optimally from attacks?

Engineers Dr. Stefan Rüping, Marcus Janke and Andreas Wenzel found a solution to this challenge that is unique worldwide – by integrating an innovative safety device directly in the heart of the microchip.
Stefan Rüping is responsible for secure chip architectures in the Chip Card & Security division of Infineon Technologies AG. Andreas Wenzel works as a development manager in this segment of the Munich company, and Marcus Janke is responsible for product security.

Electronic payment transactions, phone calls with mobile devices, emails and surfing on the Internet – chips based on the “Integrity Guard” security concept from Infineon help secure these kinds of applications. These security chips are to be found in credit cards, smart phones, laptops, in the new electronic health insurance cards as well as in electronic identity cards and passports. Chip cards and personal identity documents contain personal data that should not fall into the wrong hands. Consequently, technologies that protect data from misuse or manipulation – such as during payment transactions or identification over the Internet – top the wish list for digital communication.

Developers are creating ever more sophisticated technologies and procedures, while attackers are constantly coming up with new tricks to get hold of sensitive data. In the past, they were hindered by two substantial restrictions: on the one hand, data at the heart of the security chip, the processor core, had to be unencrypted. On the other hand, the processor that processes the data only had one single arithmetic unit – which made controlling security difficult. Stefan Rüping, Marcus Janke and Andreas Wenzel succeeded in removing both obstacles: The “Integrity Guard” security concept developed by the nominees uses two arithmetic units that cross-check each other and make it possible for the first time to work with encrypted data in the processor core.

Protecting chip cards and electronic identity documents from security threats is time-consuming and costly. Every year hundreds of new attack scenarios become known which these applications must guard against. “Integrity Guard” reduces the effort required to protect against attack and increases the level of security at the same time. A first product family to use the new technology is the electronic German identity card, for example. Moreover, other areas of application such as the securing of payment transactions with cell phones or networked critical infrastructures such as intelligent electricity meters are opening up. Infineon has already sold 80 million security chips using Integrity Guard technology worldwide – proof of the ready acceptance of this new security concept.

Integrity Guard as a security concept “Made in Germany” from Germany boosts confidence in the networked world and in doing so inspires further developments in information technology – an inestimable value for the economy and society.