Hitachi Introduces PIN Secure MultiMediaCard™, the Industry’s First Flash Card with a...

Hitachi Introduces PIN Secure MultiMediaCard™, the Industry’s First Flash Card with a User Authentication Capability

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Hitachi Semiconductor (America) today announced the PIN Secure MultiMediaCard *1 (PIN SecureMMC™), the industry’s first flash card with a user authentication function. The secure memory card provides a new level of security for protecting personal and corporation data on mobile handheld devices without hardware changes.

The Hitachi PIN SecureMMC, available now in 32MByte density (Part No. HB28D032PSM2), features a user authentication function that protects confidential content such as data, records, and copyrighted material against unauthorized access. The new product provides both theft-protected digital storage and private access in a rugged, easily transportable medium. Software developers can leverage the card’s capabilities to create applications that allow greater security and mobility. For example, new data acquisition software could let a doctor access or change patient care information conveniently, on the spot, while denying access or change of the same information to unauthorized hospital personnel.

Unlike the simple password lock/unlock function available on a standard MultiMediaCard, the PIN user authentication function can be applied to file-level data protection. Protected data are stored in an encrypted form. The license keys to decrypt that data and the PIN code to the license keys are stored in a protected hardware tamper resistant module (TRM) in the memory card. To prevent unauthorized personnel from obtaining or modifying protected data, the license keys can be accessed only after the user is authenticated by correct PIN input.

In addition, the SecureMMC authentication process takes place within the secured environment of the memory card TRM, so the secret PIN code is never exposed to the unsecured environment of the handheld device. The PIN SecureMMC enables sales executives, medical professionals or government employees to safely acquire, store, transport and view confidential information such as product design manuals, pricing data, patient records or government statistics. The new function ensures that data security will not be compromised if the memory card or the PDA is lost or stolen.

Sami Nassar, strategic marketing managing director at Hitachi Semiconductor (America) Inc. said, “The PIN Secure MultiMediaCard provides a cost effective solution to secure PDA or cell phone data storage, satisfying the needs of the vast corporate, government and personal information electronics markets.”

“In conventional data security methodology, confidential data are generally encrypted or the memory card is locked with a password to protect the information,” said Victor Tsai, flash memory product manager at Hitachi Semiconductor (America) Inc. “The deficiency of these methods is that the key to recover the encrypted data is stored in the same memory space as the information and can be easily accessed. Also, the password-checking application generally runs in the unsecured environment of the host device, so it is conceivable that the key can be extracted by analyzing the software and the data in memory. Hitachi’s new SecureMMC, with its user authentication function, is designed to specifically meet the growing need for a higher security infrastructure and to resolve the shortfall of the conventional method.”

According to Andy Prophet, Executive Director of the MultiMediaCard Association, “In the mobile era, where people store and access personal and corporate information on portable devices, data security becomes a major concern when dealing with sensitive information. The Hitachi PIN SecureMMC addresses the growing security needs for data protection on a variety of MultiMediaCard-compatible mobile devices. We see significant market opportunities for SecureMMC and anticipate that this will add further values to the existing MultiMediaCard standards.”

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