Crocus Releases The Prototype Secure Authentication Engine

Match in Place designed for smart card makers seeking to implement biometrics and other strong user authentication

April 25, 2013

3 Min Read


Grenoble, France, April 23, 2013 -- Crocus Technology, a leading provider of magnetically enhanced semiconductors, today announces it will release a prototype of Match in Place(TM) (MiP), a distinctive security technique that strengthens user authentication in digital transactions. MiP is specially designed for smart card makers seeking to implement biometrics and other strong user authentication in smart cards, secure microcontrollers, tokens and mobile devices.

MiP is unique in the way it performs user authentication. During an authentication process, the direct bit-to-bit comparison of the stored reference pattern to be authenticated occurs within the memory array. This is unlike traditional methods. In traditional read functions, the secret keys stored in other memory types need to be downloaded from the memory and cached in a register where switching operations could be analyzed. Whereas in the new MiP approach, the sensitive data stored in a Magnetic Logic Unit(TM) (MLU) array is never revealed to an external bus or register. This makes the security more robust.

In addition, it takes MiP less than 70 ns to perform a user authentication match. Therefore, the window of opportunity to carry out a security attack is significantly reduced or virtually non-existent.

The MiP prototype has a maximum of 32-bits of MiP to demonstrate a 4 – 10 digit PIN code match. Crocus will make MiP available as a FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) demonstrator in Q3 2013.

"We believe strong authentication, beyond existing solutions, is essential for better security, enhanced privacy and more secure transactions," said Alain Faburel, vice president security business unit at Crocus. "With Match in Place, Crocus continues to build upon its innovations for mobile applications. We are pleased to provide the digital security market with an efficient technique that makes user authentication faster and safer."

The unique security function and speed of MiP make it ideal for protecting PIN codes and access ID from theft or unauthorized use when connecting to an external device, such as a smart card reader. It is suitable for biometrics, where MiP will perform the biometric pattern recognition within the smart card in an extremely fast time of less than 70 ns.

MiP is based on Crocus' breakthrough Magnetic Logic Unit, a CMOS based rugged magnetic technology. As a result, MiP draws benefit from many of MLU's advantages. These include reading and writing faster than flash memory as well as its small footprint.

Each cell of the MiP technology is a non-volatile memory cell combined with the virtual XOR gate (digital logic gate) of the MLU. Multiple cells are connected in series to a NAND chain acting as a linear MiP engine. In digital electronics, a NAND gate (Negated AND) is used to accomplish bit-to-bit comparisons. If multiple MiP NAND chains are placed in parallel, they can act simultaneously to compare one pattern against many. A Match in Place white paper is available for review:

About Crocus Technology

Crocus Technology is a leading provider of embedded microcontrollers for the mobile and security industry and for applications requiring extreme operating conditions. The company develops Magnetic Logic Unit(TM) (MLU), a CMOS based rugged magnetic technology capable of offering advanced embedded security. Crocus' MLUs read and write faster than flash memory and have a smaller footprint. This enables Crocus' MLUs to offer significant advantages in performance, security and cost-effectiveness, making them ideal for use in smart cards and other embedded micro-controller applications. Founded in 2004, Crocus is led by a senior management team with high-level industry experience from Motorola, AMD, Intel and Gemalto. It has offices Grenoble and Gardanne France, and US operations in Santa Clara, California. For more information, please visit:

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