Week In Review: Design, Low Power

Hardware security funding; MediaTek sells portfolio of 2000 patents; SolarWinds supply chain attack.


Tortuga Logic was awarded a $12 million SBIR Phase III contract from the US Government to foster the development of advanced hardware security solutions. Ansys will collaborate with Tortuga Logic to advance side-channel leakage analysis workflows. “The award will allow us to rapidly expand our solution to address new classes of hardware weaknesses in the physical domain that are critical to the security of both our government and commercial customers,” said Jason Oberg, CTO and co-founder of Tortuga Logic.

Rianta released a new family of AES bulk encryption and HMAC acceleration IP cores targeting ASIC and SoC devices for applications such as CXL IDE, IPsec, MACsec, and storage. “The distributed and disaggregated nature of data centers workloads is driving the demand to encrypt and authenticate all data across all interconnect paths,” said Richard deBoer, CEO of Rianta.

Patent licensing company Wi-LAN subsidiary Xueshan Technologies acquired a portfolio of approximately 2,000 patents from MediaTek. The acquired patents relate to a variety of technologies including power management ICs, RF ICs, embedded and NFC microcontrollers, as well as image processors. Terms were not disclosed.

The SolarWinds cyberattack is growing to include many more companies that installed the hacked network management software update, according to Wall Street Journal. Intel and Nvidia reported that they had installed the malicious update, which provided backdoor access to networks running the afflicted software, but so far neither have found evidence of breaches related to it. Other tech companies that installed the update (and have not found compromises related to it) included Cisco, Belkin, VMware, and Microsoft.

In a blog post, Microsoft President Brad Smith says that the attack should provide a ‘moment of reckoning’ to governments and the tech sector, with supply chain attacks only likely to increase. “The attack unfortunately represents a broad and successful espionage-based assault on both the confidential information of the U.S. Government and the tech tools used by firms to protect them,” he said, adding, “while governments have spied on each other for centuries, the recent attackers used a technique that has put at risk the technology supply chain for the broader economy.” The blog goes on to provide an assessment of the known breadth of the attack so far and future strategies for countering sophisticated cyberattacks.

Part of the latest U.S. COVID-19 relief bill includes $1.9 billion in funding to remove telecom network equipment created by Huawei and ZTE that the U.S. government have deemed a security threat, according to Reuters. The funding for the ‘rip and replace’ effort is part of a larger $7 billion investment aimed at expanding broadband access, particularly for rural and low-income areas. The U.S. also recently added foundry SMIC and drone maker DJI to its trade blacklist.

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