IBM S/390 Cryptographic Coprocessor Receives Highest Validation for Commercial Security

Select a topic or year

SOMERS, N.Y - 18 Jan 1999: ..IBM today announcedthat the S/390 CMOS Cryptographic Coprocessor, used in S/390 hardware to help customers transact secure e-business, has been awarded the U.S. government's highest certification for commercial security.

Granted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), this security certification is known as the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-1 Level 4. It covers all cryptographic coprocessors that have shipped with the IBM S/390 Parallel Enterprise G3 servers, G4 and G5 servers since June 1997. Each S/390 server may contain one or two CMOS cryptographic coprocessor chips.

"This security certification underscores to our customers that S/390 offers world class security to conduct e-business," said Linda Distel, program director, S/390 security. "It is the culmination of a technically challenging effort that began with the design of the cryptographic coprocessor back in 1992."

The S/390 CMOS Cryptographic Coprocessor, developed in IBM's Poughkeepsie (NY) Labs, is designed to perform highly sensitive tasks unsuitable for other less secure computers. Each chip provides high-performance cryptographic functions, including Data Encryption Standard (DES), Triple DES, key management and digital signatures.

According to NIST, the S/390 CMOS Cryptographic Coprocessor meets the stringent physical requirements of the FIPS 140-1 Level 4 for a single chip implementation, including protection from tampering, which includes deletion of highly sensitive information.

At the Level 4 validation, an independent laboratory performs rigorous analysis of the product in 11 different categories. In receiving a Level 4 validation, the IBM CMOS Cryptographic Coprocessor received the highest possible rating in each applicable area. FIPS certification also is recognized and supported by the Canadian Communications Security Establishment. The Integrated Cryptographic Service Facility, part of the OS/390 operating system, is a supporting software application programming interface to the cryptographic coprocessor hardware.

To date, IBM offers the only two products that have achieved this overall FIPS 140-1 Level 4 validation. The IBM 4758 PCI Cryptographic Coprocessor Card, a highly secure device on which users can develop embedded highly secure applications, was certified late last year. The IBM 4758 PCI Cryptographic Coprocessor Card runs on a range of non-IBM and IBM platforms, including IBM's RS/6000 and Netfinity servers.

# # #

IBM news releases and fact sheets are available on the Internet, via the IBM Home Page at S/390 releases and fact sheets are available via the S/390 Home Page at Information about the IBM Level 4 Validation of the CMOS Cryptographic Coprocessor and product information also can be found at the IBM SecureWay Web site at

IBM, S/390, IBM S/390 Parallel Enterprise Server, OS/390, RS/6000 and Netfinity are all trademarks or registered trademarks of IBM Corporation.

All others are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.