NEC Develops Software To Detect 'Counterfeit' Batteries

7 July 2004 by axxxr
NEC Electronics' Software for Microcontrollers Verifies Authenticity of Mobile Phone and Digital Still Camera Batteries

NEC Electronics Corporation,and its subsidiary in Europe, NEC Electronics (Europe) GmbH, introduces a new software for microcontrollers that detects counterfeit battery products in mobile phones and digital still camera batteries. The software offers significant performance benefits by utilizing advanced CIPHERUNICORN-S technology from NEC Corporation,which operates at processing speeds up to 18 times faster and requires 80% less memory than standard encryption technology. The improved performance reduces hardware requirements and enables the software to be used with standard 8-bit microcontrollers, which in turn leads to lower overall costs.

As mobile phones and digital cameras have surged in popularity in recent years, counterfeit batteries for these products have also increased. However, non-original batteries often fail to meet manufacturers' safety and quality standards, leading to product malfunctions and personal injury. Conventional technologies to address this issue are cumbersome and expensive hardware, or inexpensive but ineffective software solutions. NEC Electronics' software offers a highly effective and flexible solution that helps OEMs affordably reinforce the safety of their products.

"The growing number of worldwide incidences involving inferior counterfeit batteries is a considerable source of concern for manufacturers and customers alike. NEC Electronics' authentication software offers a highly effective yet affordable solution to help detect such unauthorized products and prevent the damage caused by them." said Kazuo Nakamura, General Manager, Device SI Division, NEC Electronics.

Product Features
The software includes NEC's CIPHERUNICORN-S technology, which uses the same key for both encryption and decryption (referred to as a symmetric key cryptosystem). The software's processing speed is 18 times faster yet it requires 80% less memory than previous technologies. These features greatly reduce hardware requirements, making it possible to provide high-speed verification using NEC Electronics' 78K0/78K0S 8-bit microcontrollers.

The software also offers robust protection against cache attacks (a recent decryption method that measures minute changes in processing times when information stored in the cache memory is accessed) by utilizing the latest algorithms. In addition to being compatible with NEC Electronics' 8-bit 78K0/78K0S microcontroller family, the software can also be configured for use with third party products by customer request, enabling flexible system design.

The software will be introduced in Japanese digital cameras by year's end and is expected to be used in 50 million units by 2007. The software is ideal for use in mobile phones and batteries, but NEC Electronics is also considering extending this technology to "smart" keys, printers and ink cartridges, as well as bundling the technology into hardware options.

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