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Product category: Programmable Logic Devices
News Release from: Actel Europe | Subject: Actel Security Resource Centre
Edited by the Electronicstalk Editorial Team on 10 September 2002

Website addresses FPGA design security

Note: A free brochure or catalogue is available from Actel Europe on the products in this news release. Click here to request a copy.

Actel has launched the first website dedicated to the growing problem of design theft and lack of awareness in the industry

The Actel Security Resource Centre ( provides customers, design engineers and managers with information on the fundamentals of security issues and secure field-programmable gate array (FPGA) solutions, including technology tutorials, market overviews, white papers, government links and extensive glossaries.

The website will enable the design community to increase its awareness of critical design principles, methodologies and common security threats, such as overbuilding, reverse engineering, cloning and denial of service.

"Increasingly, FPGAs are displacing ASICs in many applications.

Unfortunately, the system security implications of choosing FPGA technologies are not well understood within the design community.

Without precautions, corporations run the risk of encountering major breaches in security, resulting in the theft of valuable intellectual property and ultimately undermining a company's profitability", said Barry Marsh, vice president of product marketing at Actel.

"Actel's website serves as a resource for those companies that are serious about understanding the scale and potential damage of the security threats that exist and protecting their products from design theft.

Beyond educating the community about this problem, this website reaffirms Actel's commitment to provide single-chip, nonvolatile, secure solutions to our customers and maintain our tradition of innovative products and value-add services".

As mask costs continue to skyrocket, cost-effective, user-programmable FPGAs offer a highly attractive alternative to traditional application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for implementing complex design functions.

With the increase in FPGA adoption, devices have grown in size and complexity, thereby making the need for secure logic devices more apparent.

More often than not, the key intellectual property (IP) which differentiates the system from competitive offerings is housed in programmable logic.

Given these trends, the vulnerability of each system's unique value-added characteristics is now a direct function of an FPGA's security capabilities.

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