October 7, 2011 – Maxim Integrated Products has integrated metrology, security, and powerline communications into a reference platform for utilities to evaluate smart-grid technology.
The Newport evaluation platform provides the flexibility to handle uncertainties such as security algorithms, different communication protocols, and the need for field-upgradable meters. With the platform designers can evaluate the MAX2991/MAX2992 G3-PLC compliant chipset, the 71M6541 metering SOC, and the MAXQ1050 secure microcontroller for their next-generation smart meters.
A major concern about smart-grid security is the ability to access the grid through the meter. If perpetrated by a cyber criminal, potentially disastrous actions could cause widespread harm to the grid.
The MAXQ1050 supports advanced asymmetric encryption schemes such as elliptic curve and also protects against physical hacking. It incorporates a sophisticated security mechanism to protect secret key data; two self-destruct inputs and various other environmental monitors (temperature and voltage sensors) erase secret key data when an attack condition is detected, thereby preventing sensitive information from falling into the hands of an attacker.
The device supports high-speed encryption with hardware accelerators for AES, RSA, DSA, ECDSA, SHA-1, SHA-224, SHA-256, and 3DES. A true hardware random-number generator is included for key generation and challenge generation.