nCipher Security Blog

Bigger, better building blocks for innovation

John Grimm | Vice President of Strategy and Business Development More About This Author >

A bright innovator in the digital currency industry came to us recently, wanting a solution that could provide the highest level of protection for their Bitcoin wallet application. Not just for the core crypto, but also for the application that controls the crypto.

Gem ultimately decided that for the level of control they wanted to have, that they needed to build it themselves. And only one HSM offered them the capability to build exactly what they wanted – the Thales nShield HSM with the unique CodeSafe application protection capability.

While cryptographic signing operations are central to every Bitcoin transaction and HSMs are perfect for securing private wallet keys, Gem wanted to lead the industry with higher order security techniques such as such as hierarchical deterministic key derivation and multi-signature transaction authorization. This required securing custom application code as well as keys and crypto to create a tamper-resistant application - and that's precisely what CodeSafe was designed to do.

And now – having seen what innovators like Gem and other customers have done with this tool - we’ve made some enhancements to our unique CodeSafe capability to make it bigger and even better.

With the launch of the next generation nShield XC, we’re taking performance up to the next level. In particular, we’ve expanded the application space and memory available in CodeSafe, resulting in increased capacity to host larger applications and the ability for our customers to offer custom application security on an expanded basis using this “safe haven” within the certified HSM security boundary.

In today’s threat landscape, business applications running on host servers are increasingly vulnerable to a variety of attacks and advanced persistent threats (APTs). Should a hacker be successful in their bid to an attack these business applications, businesses face compromised critical operations and the results can be massive costs and disruption of services. With CodeSafe, businesses can rest assured that sensitive applications can run within a secure environment where they are strongly protected from a variety of attacks using a customer-specified arsenal of security protections.

It was this level of unprecedented protection that appealed to PRIMA Cinema, who needed to implement protections that would allow them to shake up the traditional movie industry. The industry had long faced challenges around security in its transition from physical to digital distribution, particularly around piracy. Studios and distributors lose billions of dollars each year because of films being illegally copied and distributed. So when PRIMA Cinema had the idea to distribute newly released movies, for the very first time, into private home cinemas, eyebrows were raised. However, for PRIMA Cinema, security had to be a number one priority to convince Hollywood’s top movie studies that their content would be safe. The answer? Applying content protection – including strong encryption, digital watermarking, and device authentication processes – within the secure boundary of a Thales nShield HSM using CodeSafe. By doing this, PRIMA Cinema provided proof of iron-clad content protection to the movie studios, and in turn enabled their customers to enjoy the best of Hollywood in the comfort of their home.

Security can get a bad rap as an inhibitor. But with the examples above, this clearly need not be the case. By providing an environment where custom applications protecting high value content can be built and run securely, security can in fact enable innovation and new business models. With increased CodeSafe efficiency and capacity, we can now be the perfect passenger for these companies looking to drive innovation in the new years to come.

To find out more about our newly launched nShield XC offering, please click here.