Designed for the two-billion-units-per-year automatic identification, access control, and electronic cash (e-cash) markets, Maxim Integrated Products has introduced a new line of RFID keys and cards.

The new contactless RFID product family (the MAX66000/020/040/100/120/140) exploits the expertise utilized in the company’s popular 1-Wire secure authentication ICs, which protect intellectual property in embedded systems. With a 13.56MHz interface, the secure keys are ideally positioned to gain market share because 13.56MHz is becoming the worldwide standard for access control and e-payment applications. Some regions of the world have already begun deploying this RFID technology for passport and national ID cards.

As the critical data found inside many of these RF credentials becomes more and more valuable, efforts to crack, counterfeit, and duplicate cards and credentials will increase. System integrators are already looking for increased security and authentication techniques to protect those assets.

Maxim’s new RF devices are packaged in a laminated plastic key fob or ISO thin card format and are available in either the ISO 14443B or ISO 15693 HF protocol. Each protocol family offers three products: 64-bit ROM ID only (MAX66000/MAX66100), ROM ID plus 1K-bit EEPROM (MAX66020/MAX66120), or ROM ID plus 1K-bit EEPROM and SHA-1 authentication (MAX66040/MAX66140). Custom form factors are also available.

The MAX66040 and MAX66140 employ the secure hash algorithm (SHA-1), a proven technology designed by the NSA for protecting a system’s critical data without using expensive encryption techniques or an untested, proprietary protocol. SHA-1 is an ISO standard that is publicly available and has been thoroughly tested in the marketplace. It is designed to maintain the integrity of the stored data so that one can verify the authenticity of any credential.

Maxim’s RF keys and cards are custom programmable to match the requirements of new and existing tag populations. They work with most 13.56MHz readers on the market, thus providing an alternative tag source for existing systems, says the company.

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