NAU enters into research development partnership with Castle Shield

person working on a computer

Castle Shield, a leading provider of applications and services based on a Zero Trust Architecture framework, today announced a research collaboration with NAU, which seeks to develop new approaches to identifying, authenticating and protecting devices for enterprises and consumers. As part of the partnership, Castle Shield and NAU executed a license agreement that covers commercialization of licensed products and grants-exclusive patent rights to products created under a sponsored research agreement utilizing 12 existing patents and eight pending patents. Patent rights are granted for all new patents created under a Sponsored Research Agreement until such patents are exhausted. 

The research collaboration will be led by Bertrand Cambou, who joined NAU’s School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems in 2015, and the cybersecurity research team, which has been recognized for its track record in innovation. The School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems engages in a broad range of collaborative research projects with industry partners both Commercial and Federal. The NAU cybersecurity team’s research in nanoelectronics and cybersecurity is well-supported in the multidisciplinary approach of the university. 

The collaboration between Castle Shield and NAU will focus on the following high-level areas: 

  • Securing encryption keys and devices using a tamper-resistant token 
  • Adding biometrics to the tamper-resistant token in subsequent project phases 
  • Applying the secure encryption key and device protection to other devices using nanotechnology, such as memristors and ReRAM 
  • Adding quantum key distribution (QKD) support to existing Castle Shield’s encryption portfolio 

The first collaborative project will be the co-development of a Tamper-Resistant Token that includes the following: 

  1. An addressable PUF (Physically Unclonable Function) generator with ternary states 
  2. A ternary addressable public key infrastructure scheme
  3. A Response-Based Cryptography (RBC) engine for error correction 
  4. A tamper resistant key recovery protocol with a token. 
  5. Motherboard/daughterboard tamper-resistant key recover scheme 

The first deliverables are an end-to-end solution that provides a temper resistance key recovery protocol integrated into a SRAM-based USB token, and the other provides the identical solution integrated into the Castle Shield’s end-customer motherboards or added to customers’ hardware as a daughterboard. 

“Castle Shield’s proactive approach to cybersecurity coupled with their strategic drive to integrate innovative advances in encryption into commercial products such as Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC) provides my team and I a commercialization pathway for our innovations,” said Cambou, a professor of nanotechnology and cybersecurity. “Castle Shield is at the forefront of finding and implementing solutions to protect the customer’s information for today and minimize attacks tomorrow. Our research, conducted by a team of Ph.D.s and Northern Arizona University have a similar objective, and together with Castle Shield, we will form a powerful partnership to help companies and individuals proactively increase their cybersecurity posture. At NAU, the cybersecurity team has generated 65 invention disclosures and filed 60 patent application, 35 of which have been granted.” 

Castle Shield provides advanced solutions to partners and customers that protect their most valuable asset—their data.

“We have implemented Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC) algorithms into our existing Fides product family which are commercially available today; our symmetric and asymmetric encryption solutions are encryption agnostic thus enabling Castle Shield to delivery best-in-class crypto-agility for today and tomorrow,” said Milton Mattox, Castle Shield’s chief technology officer. “Our collaboration with Northern Arizona University continues our aggressive goal in advancing research innovation with one of the nation’s most prolific inventors in the field of nanoelectronics and cybersecurity.” 

NAU Communications