CAPSTONE CHIP TECHNOLOGY
CAPSTONE is an NSA developed, hardware oriented, cryptographic
device that implements the same cryptographic algorithm as the
CLIPPER chip. In addition, the CAPSTONE chip includes the following
|1. The Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA) proposed by NIST
as a Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS);
|2. The Secure Hashing Algorithm (SHA) recently approved as
|3. A Key Exchange Algorithm based on a public key exchange;
|4. A general purpose exponentiation algorithm;
|5. A general purpose, random number generator which uses a
pure noise source.
The Key exchange Algorithm is programmable on the chip and uses
functions 1-2 and 4-5 above.
Prototypes of the CAPSTONE chip are due the last week in April.
The chips are expected to sell for $85.00 each (programmed).
The first CAPSTONE chips are to be installed in PCMCIA electronic
boards and used for the PMSP program for the security of the Defense
The CAPSTONE chip is big, complex and powerful. Over 850 megabytes
are required by the automated design system to define the functions
of the chip. VLSI Technology is fabricating the chip, and MYKOTRONX
is designing and testing the chip.
|1. What are the power requirements of the CAPSTONE chip?
Will they fit the power requirements of battery-operated, hand
|The CAPSTONE chip requires a 5 volt DC voltage source. Power
ratings are currently estimated at 3.5 milliamps per MHz, i.e.
at 10 Mhz and 5 volt DC, power consumed is 175 milliwatts. These
estimates will be refined as data are taken into the actual chips.
In comparison, the CLIPPER chip consumes approximately 150 milliwatts
at 5 volts DC and 10 MHz. As you can see, both chips fall within
the power requirements of hand held, battery-operated devices.
|2. Will the CAPSTONE chip incorporate the key escrow features
of the CLIPPER chip?
|Yes, it will.
|3. When will CAPSTONE be announced and available?
|Prototypes of the CAPSTONE chip are due the end of this month.
We ask that you contact the manufacturer, Mykotronx Inc., for
further information concerning the timetable for availability
|4. Is the Department of Defense working now to incorporate
CAPSTONE in the Pre-message Security Protocol?
|5. Will CAPSTONE meet the design requirements of a PCMCIA
card that combines voice and/or data communications with encryption
|6. Will CAPSTONE use the Digital Signature Standard? What
kind of key management scheme will be employed in the CAPSTONE
chip? Will CAPSTONE allow the use of RSA public-key encryption
in conjunction with, or as an alternative to, the DSS? If RSA
is implemented on the CAPSTONE chip, will the key escrow feature
|CAPSTONE implements the Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA),
proposed by NIST as a Federal Information Processing Standard
(FIPS), to perform the digital signature functions. Key management
is handled by an algorithm based on a public-key exchange technique.
The CAPSTONE chip does not implement RSA.