ViewTouch SecurityThe Advanced Encryption Standard
The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) cipher is used in many cryptographic protocols, including TLS (SSL), SSH, & IPSEC. No successful attacks against AES have ever been recognised. Since June 2003, the US Government has used AES for classified information.
ViewTouch POS computers have VIA C5P processors which, unlike standard x86 CPUS from Intel & AMD which can only encrypt or decrypt an AES cipher in software, have hardware encryption/decryption of the AES cipher. VIA's AES Benchmark tool calculates AES speeds and measures the C5P's hardware AES core performance.
The C5P processor at the heart of every ViewTouch POS system has two random bit generators which non-deterministic random numbers from the intrinsically random physical processes occurring in its semiconductor diodes. A Zener diode operated in a special circuit derives an abruptly changing current from a process called "voltage breakdown". This is an erratic process which is governed by laws of Quantum Physics and is therefore genuinely random in nature. The phenomenon produces a small voltage variation across the diode which is extracted via AC coupling and is amplified to achieve a large amplitude noise which is used to control a logic digitisation circuit which, upon request, produces either 0 (logic zero) or 1 (logic one) as its output.
Heady? Absolutely. We only mention it because when we tout ViewTouch as a POS solution with a perfect record of security, and with the confidence that it will always remain secure, we are obligated by our own sense of ethics to explain the how and the why of it.
This reprint from Mini-ITX.com shows the vastly superior performance of the our VIA C5P in the benchmark and illustrates the comparative ease with which ViewTouch POS computers are secured using AES.
The software benchmark was run on these 4 boards, 100 iterations for each test, several times and the results were averaged. The results were converted into iterations per minute to make interpretation easier. Each iteration represents 1000 calculations. The C5P performed 100 loops in 90 to 95 seconds using software. The Athlon XP2500+ performed them in 30 seconds in software.
The C5P has an ace up its sleeve; it can do the calculations in hardware. When the C5P's AES hardware was invoked the graph had to be rescaled by 2 orders of magnitude to illustrate the result. In one minute, 5876 ECB iterations, 2900 CBC & CFB iterations and 1480 OFB iterations were obtained. The nearest competitor, the 2.4Ghz Pentium IV, managed only 368 iterations on its fastest test. The C5P was from 6 to 17 times faster than even the Pentium IV on every test !!
The AES core of the C5P performs a single AES block round operation in two processor clock cycles. Pipelined operation is supported for operations on independent blocks, giving a net throughput of one round per clock. ECB mode encryption utilises independent blocks and can be pipelined, whereas CBC, CFB and particularly OFB mode encryption do not - hence the faster encryption times for ECB. Traditional x86 platforms require at least 250 clock cycles per block to perform the same calculations, so even with higher clock speeds they are hopelessly outclassec by the CP5 C3.