The growing popularity of Dropbox, which lets users access stored documents via the web, has not escaped notice of those in the financial and tech communities.
Dropbox, a San Francisco-based startup specialized in file sharing and hosting services, is said to be seeking $250 million in funding, which would value the six-year-old company at $8 billion, according to a Reuters' report on Monday (Nov. 18).
Meanwhile, Intrinsic-ID, an Eindhoven, the Netherlands-based developer of security IP cores, announced on Wednesday (Nov. 20) that it is bringing a professional level of security to Dropbox users.
Dropbox, which claims to have about 200 million users, announced earlier this month a move into the enterprise market. The company is rolling out a newly upgraded paid service called “Dropbox for Business.” With a majority of its users being consumers, however, the weakest link of Dropbox' business, thus far, is its practically non-existent enterprise clients.
Intrinsic-ID hopes to capitalize on that void, by providing business and professional Dropbox users with an application called Saturnus. Saturnus, through the use of software and a USB smartcard token, is set up to allow enterprise clients to protect their digital assets stored and shared in the cloud, according to Intrinsic-ID.
With Saturnus, files are encrypted before they leave the device and are uploaded to the cloud. The encryption keys are generated and managed inside a USB hardware security token plugged into the user device.
Intrinsic-ID claims the advantage of the company’s Saturnus solution is in that “the security and the keys are put back in the control of the end user and anchored both in the hardware and the software by means of private and local keys.”
Hardware intrinsic security
Intriguing is what’s behind Saturnus solution. Intrinsic-ID is using the company’s patented technology called Hardware Intrinsic Security (HIS). Unlike other security measures which store keys in non-volatile memory, HIS leverages a principle of “biometrics for electronic devices,” which allows for secure key extraction and programming from the unique physical properties of the underlying hardware.
Modern ICs, according to Intrinsic-ID, come with unique fingerprints. Each device is "different due to the deep-submicron process variations manifested during manufacturing," the company explained. "The most important variation is that of doping concentration and location, since the threshold voltages vary transistor per transistor."
Intrinsic-ID has figured out a way to leverage the uniqueness of each device for security. Because it’s hard to control these variations during manufacturing, it makes virtually impossible to clone them.
Intrinsic-ID is now selling via its website a Saturnus bundle, consisting of a USB token loaded with the Saturnus software, and a three-year license for Saturnus for both Android 4.X and Windows 7 devices. When the USB token is used in a device (PC, smartphone, or tablet), it will enable users to secure files that are stored and shared on Dropbox. The company said that the support for other cloud providers will follow.
Inside Secure, a leading supplier of embedded security solutions based in Aix-en-Provence, France, has partnered with Intrinsic-ID, so that Inside Secure’s secure microcontrollers will power Intrinsic-ID’s Saturnus cloud security applications.
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times