Silex Insight and Argo collaborate to ensure complete smart meter security

Source: press release, 22 January 2020

eSecure – single module for multiple security challenges
eSecure – single module for multiple security challenges (illustration: Silex Insight)

Silex Insight, provider of flexible security IP cores, and Argo, an experienced embedded system designer and developer in Korea, have announced their collaboration for delivering a solution for security-conscious smart meters designers incorporating security IP from Silex Insight into the ASIC chip from Argo. The first customer of this collaboration is the largest power company in Korea with annual delivery of 3 million new and re-installed meters.

The newest generation of smart meters performs far more in electrical networks than these devices did in their original communications role just a few years earlier. Deploying a smart grid without adequate security might result in serious consequences such as grid instability, utility fraud, and loss of user information and energy-consumption data.

The partnership provides a combined platform comprised of Argo ASIC SoC along with Silex Insight’s NIST FIPS 140-2 validated eSecure Security IP (BA470).

eSecure provides an embedded Secure Enclave, Hardware Root-of-Trust solution providing Secure Boot, system integrity by ensuring execution of authenticated software, device authentication, generation and storage of secure keys and secret information.

Silex Insight’s eSecure contains a best-in-class cryptographic engine that implements a wide range of symmetric and asymmetric algorithms, including ARIA, a block cipher standard for Korea.

Argo’s Smart Metering solution benefits include: High accuracy metering front end, high performance, low power application core and broad range of peripheral support. Robust end-to-end security, provided by eSecure, with support for Over-the-air provisioning and firmware updates.

“A smart meter is generally always turned on and they mostly reside on residential networks which are not monitored for either incoming or outgoing attack traffic, so security is essential,” says Jun Kyu Park, CEO of Argo. “The Silex Insight’s eSecure IP platform brings great value, perfectly aligned with our needs by being so incredible scalable and flexible – it was fitting into our solution straight away.”

“Smart metering is a diverse and challenging deployment. Collaborating with Argo allows us to provide benefits in areas that most affect each and every one of us,” comments Sébastien Rabou, Director of Security Division of Silex Insight. “We are excited that our eSecure IP module in alliance with Argo design will deliver smart meters all over South-Korea.”

The installed base of smart metering is foreseen to double within the next 5 years with Asia in the lead. Both Silex Insight and Argo will lead the industry with vision and value for secure smart metering.