Nordic Semiconductor-powered multi-interface FIDO security key enables authentication of commonly accessed online services across multiple platforms

NOR086. Feitian

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Beijing, China-based financial transaction security and user authentication company, Feitian Technologies, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® low energy System-on-Chip (SoC) for its Multi-interface FIDO® Security Key. The security key is a FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance-certified Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) device offering Bluetooth low energy, Near Field Communication (NFC), and USB transfer interfaces for multi-factor authentication of commonly accessed online services.

Going beyond traditional two-factor authentication solutions, the Multi-interface FIDO Security Key is said to be the only U2F key providing three interfaces, providing stronger account and transaction security and enabling users to securely and conveniently access online services across multiple devices and platforms including Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android, and ChromeOS. Once linked to an online account, even in the event the user’s username and password is compromised, third parties will not be able to access the account without the security key.

For pairing to Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) iOS- and Android-compatible smartphones and tablets, the Multi-interface FIDO Security Key employs Bluetooth low energy wireless connectivity provided by the nRF52832 SoC. For pairing to Windows, Linux, and macOS devices, the user can select between NFC or USB interfaces in the absence of Bluetooth low energy support. Once paired with their device the U2F key enables ongoing FIDO registration and login verification to an unlimited number of registered accounts.

Packaged in a 47.3 by 29.3 by 8.3mm teardrop-shaped form factor, the security key’s rechargeable 35mAh battery has a life of at least three months between recharge in standard operation, thanks in part to the ultra low power characteristics of the Nordic SoC. The nRF52832 SoC has been engineered to minimize power consumption and employs a fully-automatic power management system offering processing performance of 58 CoreMark/mA, up to twice as power efficient as competing devices.

“One of the key reasons we selected Nordic’s nRF52832 SoC was because its hardware and software architecture allows for rapid data handling and wireless transmission,” says Geoffrey Li, Feitian Technologies, International Technical Director. “FIDO registration and verification commands, and PKI [public key infrastructure] certificates require a large amount of data to be transmitted between the device and the host platform, and for good user experience this needs to happen quickly. Nordic’s powerful SoC makes this possible.

Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth low energy SoC, a member of Nordic’s sixth generation of ultra low power (ULP) wireless connectivity solutions, combines a 64MHz, 32-bit ARM® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™ and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) featuring -96dB RX sensitivity, with 512kB Flash memory and 64kB RAM. When launched, the SoC was the world’s highest performance single-chip Bluetooth low energy solution, delivering up to 60 percent more generic processing power, offering 10 times the Floating Point performance and twice the DSP performance compared to competing solutions.

The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S132 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 4.2 qualified RF software protocol stack for building advanced Bluetooth low energy applications. The S132 SoftDevice Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster and Observer Bluetooth low energy roles, supports up to twenty connections, and enables concurrent role operation.