Infineon secures design win for enhanced-security electronic passport chips

August 02, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Infineon is to supply the security chips for the world's first electronic passports of the newest generation, using asymmetric encryption

Infineon is supplying the security chips for the world's first electronic passports incorporating the Supplemental Access Control (SAC) protocol, which enhances protection against unauthorised access and possible abuse of personal data. The passports, issued by the Republic of Kosovo, contain Infineon security chips in the SLE 78 product family with “Integrity Guard,” which offers the highest level of data security over the long term; this protection is appropriate for sovereign documents with a long period of validity. Germany-based Giesecke & Devrient manufactures the electronic passport solution for the Republic of Kosovo.

To fulfil increasing security requirements for contactless access to data stored on the passport, the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) now recommends use of the SAC protocol. In contrast to the earlier generation BAC (Basic Access Control) protocol, SAC is based on asymmetric encryption. Within the EU, SAC will be mandatory for electronic passports issued from December 2014. As the first European country to comply with the new requirement, the Republic of Kosovo will issue 800,000 electronic passports.

According to current estimates from market research firm IHS, roughly 192 million electronic passports are in circulation in Europe and in the region, over 30 million new electronic passports are issued each year.

Security chips based on “Integrity Guard” digital security technology offer, Infineon says, the highest level of protection against data manipulation that is currently available. The passport-holder's personal data are not only stored in encrypted form on the security chip, but also processed in encrypted form. In addition, the SLE 78 security controllers with their 16-bit architecture provide better computing performance, which results in faster processing for citizens when they cross borders. More at;