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Dual Mode VaultIC 420i Works as Serial EEPROM or Smart Secure Element

Aix en Provence France, October 30, 2012 Inside Secure, a leader in semiconductor solutions for secure transactions and digital identity, today introduced the dual-mode VaultIC™ 420i secure microcontroller, a drop-in replacement for standard, unsecure non-volatile memory (serial EEPROMs). INSIDE’s new device gives manufacturers a unique way to add strong, FIPS-140-2 level 3 targeted security to existing electronics products quickly, easily and cost-effectively, preventing fraud, counterfeiting, cloning and theft.  The first device that behaves as either a standard serial EEPROM or a secure element, the VaultIC 420i lets manufacturers use a single device to future-proof products, allowing them to maintain current functionality and then simply switch modes to use the device as a secure element when needed for particular markets or applications, without incurring any recertification or requalification costs.

“Manufacturers can simply unplug the serial EEPROMs they are currently using in their products and drop in our VaultIC 420i.  No other component or PCB changes are necessary.  After that, a simple software command is all that’s needed to switch from standard serial EEPROM mode to the fully featured VaultIC secure element mode,” said Christian Fleutelot, General Manager and Executive Vice President Digital Security at Inside Secure.  “There are two physically distinct and separate 32K byte memories, one dedicated to each mode, to guarantee data security, and once the VaultIC 420i is placed in the secure element mode, it cannot be switched back without strong authentication.”

The VaultIC 420i has the same package and pinout as a standard serial EEPROM, and is fully compatible with the industry standard I2C interface bus used to communicate with these devices, enabling it to add security to all systems currently embedding an I2C serial EEPROM for application or configuration data storage without security, including smart energy meters, networking and medical equipment, femtocells, telehealth and gaming platforms and a variety of other applications.  When in serial EEPROM mode, the operation of the VaultIC 420i is indistinguishable from that of a standard I2C serial EEPROM.  When in secure element mode, however, the secure microcontroller, secure data storage, hardware crypto accelerators and advanced security firmware of the VaultIC secure element take over, enabling product manufacturers to take full advantage of the advanced cryptography and secure data storage features.  

The VaultIC 420i also provides a variety of dedicated anti-tampering hardware for protection against simple and differential power analysis (SPA/DPA) attacks, advanced protection against physical attacks (including active shield), environmental protection systems (voltage, frequency and temperature monitors), light protection and secure management/access protection to prevent reverse engineering or cloning.

The embedded security firmware makes it easy to implement a fully user-defined non-volatile storage of sensitive or secret data; set up identity-based authentication with user, administrator and manufacturer roles; perform authentication, digital signature, encryption/decryption and other advanced cryptographic operations using keys and data from the file system; and provide secure communication channels using 3DES or AES.  The INSIDE VaultIC Starter Kit provides an easy path to mastering the cryptographic and secure data storage features of the VaultIC 420i thanks to its full set of libraries and middleware to ease system integration.

Availability and Pricing

VaultIC 420i is sampling now .  Production volumes are expected in the second quarter of 2013.  Please contact Inside Secure for pricing information.

About Inside Secure

Inside Secure (NYSE Euronext Paris FR0010291245 – INSD.PA) is a leading designer, developer and supplier of semiconductors, embedded software and platforms for secure transactions and digital security.  INSIDE mobile NFC, secure payment and digital security products provide security for a wide range of information processing, storage and transmission applications.  The company’s customers are found in a wide range of markets, including mobile payment, identification documents, access control, transit, electronic device manufacturing, pay television and mobile service operators.  For more information, visit

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