STMicro Looks to Boost Wireless Charging Growth with New Authentification Solution

June 30, 2021 by Stephanie Leonida

STMicroelectronics introduces its STSAFE secure elements to help consumers in the wireless charging market protect their products by authenticating certified Qi chargers.

STMicroelectronics (STM) is an independent device manufacturer that specializes in the development and supply of semiconductor technologies. Recently, STM announced the arrival of its new security-focused solution for authenticating certified Qi chargers. STM’s STSAFE secure elements are intended to help promote wireless charging growth through trust, providing protection and security for small devices and mobiles.

Image used courtesy of ST
Image used courtesy of ST

Qi Certification

Wireless charging capabilities are opening up a new world of touch-and-go innovations that allow consumers to power up and stay connected. Tables and chairs with integrated charging pads, cars that position charging pads to keep mobiles at a safe distance when driving, and charging facilities provided by the hospitality sector (Whether in a restaurant or cafe) are just some of the innovations being used today. When connecting to charging devices, consumers should be able to connect knowing that their product is safe.

Qi is an open interface standard that was developed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). The standard defines wireless energy transmission through the use of inductive charging over distances of up to 4 cm (1.6 inches). When a charger or phone is Qi-Certified, it has been rigorously tested for effectiveness, safety, and compatibility. Q-Certified devices must be able to run from 0-30 watts, comply with foreign object detection (FOD) standards, and pass temperature test to protect against overheating.


STSAFE Secure Elements

STM’s STSAFE secure elements are loaded with official Qi Certificates and provide authentication using encryption. The STSAFE-A110, and STSAFE-V110 for automotive applications, are loaded with certificates at a secure STM factory. STM is an official Manufacturer Certification Authority Service Provider and has the authority to compute and sign the official Qi Charger certificate. 

The certificate contains the charger Qi-ID and maker reference. The STSAFE-A110 secure element provides authentication for USB Type-C power delivery chargers, Qi over-the-air chargers, consumables and peripherals, and eCloud Internet of things (IoT) connected objects. Smart-home, smart-city and industrial applications, and consumer electronics can all be fitted with this element.

The STSAFE-V110 secure element has been created to provide STM customers with a low-cost solution specifically for automotive Qi charging systems. It comes with authentication that uses asymmetric cryptography. This involves an elliptic curve digital signature algorithm (ECDSA) with SHA-256 (a secure industry-standard of signature hash functions) for digital signature generation and verification. 

Image used courtesy of ST
Image used courtesy of ST

In a recent press release, Marketing Director of the Secure Microcontroller Division at STM, Laurent Degauque, commented: “ST is helping wireless charging thrive by providing a secure way to authenticate genuine Qi-certified chargers before increasing the charge at any power level over five Watts.” Degauque added: “Our solutions compliant with WPC-Qi specification V1.3 are based on ST secure elements certified Common Criteria EAL5+ and AEC-Q100 for automotive.”

Vehicles today are more connected than ever before and can provide exciting services such as infotainment, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), Qi charging for smartphones, and more. Such connected vehicles can also fall victim to cyber-attacks. Network access corruption, device cloning, service denial, and data manipulation can occur. The STSAFE-V family for security and safety helps customers to avoid such disruptive experiences.