Broadcom's Secure RFID Chips Take Flight

Chipmaker becomes latest to join RSA's SecurID program along with RFID chip.
Radio frequency identity (RFID) (define) tags are becoming a common convenience, popping up in places such as luggage, luxury goods, passports and pharmaceutical products.

But security protocols about that data remain a work in progress for working groups and industry sectors.

Hoping to get in on the action with security, chipmaker Broadcom (Quote, Chart) has announced what it called the first secure processor with embedded RFID capabilities. It's also the latest company to join RSA Security's (Quote, Chart) SecurID Ready for Authenticators program.

Derek Brink, RSA's vice president for corporate development, told internetnews.com that RFID security comes in third behind convenience and cost for consumers.

The agreement to embed RSA's SecurID technology along with integrated RFID in Broadcom's BCM5890 processor helps enterprises balance convenience with security, according to John Worrall, senior vice president of marketing at RSA.

Broadcom is now the eighth company to join RSA's SecurID Ready Partner program, which seeks to encourage companies to embed RSA's two-step SecurID algorithm in devices.

Last February during its annual security conference, RSA announced M-Systems, Motorola, RedCannon, Renasas Technology and SanDisk as partners in the program, which also counts RIM (Quote, Chart) and Microsoft.

The first device to use the RFID processor with embedded RSA security technology will be the plusID, a watch fob-size wireless biometric product from Privaris that uses fingerprints to authenticate users for access to buildings, computers or online finances.

Microsoft (Quote, Chart) said it is planning to provide third-party support for the SecurID program in the upcoming Vista operating system release.

Wallace told internetnews.com integrating RSA's security algorithm gathers differing RFID applications and provides increased user authentication. "Otherwise, it is a bag full of chips running around," he said.

(The RFID deal was announced prior to EMC's $2.1 billion acquisition of RSA Security last week. As internetnews.com reported, the combination of EMC provides the marketing muscle and customer base that will enable RSA to become a security technology provider for storage customers. In addition, EMC gains a foothold in the RFID security sector.)

While the integrated RFID security product likely won't be tracking pallets of Pepsi, the chip is very applicable to tracking pharmaceuticals. Consumers stopping at the neighbor pharmacy would swipe their finger at an RFID device and be authenticated, said Wallace.

Pharmaceutical companies are seen as big adopters in their battles with drug counterfeiters.

Systems vendors are keen to help.

This article was first published on InternetNews.com. To read the full article, click here.






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