NXP and S&C Electric Company join forces to enhance security of critical smart grid components

NXP Semiconductors N.V., and S&C Electric Company, a global smart grid leader, announce a program to develop and incorporate advanced integrated circuits that will provide enhanced security for products used in smart grid applications. The circuit designs will advance cyber security measures by incorporating secure authentication, reducing the risk of unauthorized access to smart grid equipment.

NXP Semiconductors is a leader in security integrated circuit solutions. NXP’s A-series security IC assures component authentication and encrypted communication between intelligent distribution grid devices, permitting the grid to be managed at enhanced levels of security and reliability. The A-series is built on NXP’s proven tamper-resistant SmartMX technology to protect the secret key from physical and logical attacks. This technology, which is widely used in identification cards, passports, banking smart cards, and other high-security applications, uses state-of-the-art Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) algorithms for safer key management. As a primary feature, the secret key never leaves the A-series security IC and is not part of the host software.

“As a pioneer in electric distribution automation, by working with NXP, S&C is taking an important step to advance the industry’s communications and control systems to protect against possible tampering and provide enhanced assurance for the protection of authentication tokens in field equipment,” says Rohit Khera, cyber security architect, S&C Electric Company. “The NXP A-series based Device ID platform is a proven technology that offers significant advantages to ensure smart grid solutions are secure.”

NXP’s secure authentication for the smart grid will be showcased in NXP’s booth (#241) at the RSA Security Conference 2012 in San Francisco, February 27 to March 2, demonstrating how it will be used to tamper-proof and secure confidential communication between critical smart grid components.