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Chip startup JMEM TEK protects information safety with a hardware-software answer|

Chip startup JMEM TEK protects information safety with a hardware-software answer|

JMEM founders John Chang (L) and Paul Lo (R). Credit score: DIGITIMES

On the day Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, individuals have been shocked to see massive public shows on constructing facades exhibiting hostile content material planted by hackers warning of the implications of the US president’s assist for the island. Most of the people is never conscious that IoT gadgets corresponding to public displays are probably susceptible to hacking.

Info safety has turn into more and more necessary within the age of the Web of Issues (IoT). JMEM Know-how (JMEM TEK), a semiconductor info safety firm based three years in the past by alumni from Taiwan’s Nationwide Chiao-Tung College (NCTU), is exclusive in its method to stopping hackers and defending prospects’ IC mental property.

Previously, when updating firmware and software program, the failings within the present authentication system would make it simple to create loopholes for hackers to interrupt by. JMEM TEK introduced built-in options to handle vulnerabilities at each the {hardware} and software program ranges, attracting the eye of consumers and enterprise capitalists.

The crew members are all graduates from NCTU’s Division of Electrophysics. Their professors have offered assist not solely within the type of a mentor but additionally as angel traders. Different NCTU alumni additionally helped introduce potential IC design purchasers to them.

Leveraging assets corresponding to digital design automation (EDA) instruments and a chip manufacturing shuttle from the Innovation Incubation Middle of the Industrial Know-how Analysis Institute in Nangang, Taipei, that they had been working in stealth mode till 2022 after they formally registered their firm.

Founder and CEO John Chang studied enterprise and electronics engineering on the Queensland College of Know-how in Australia earlier than persevering with his research at NCTU. He’s in control of the operation and design of 1 gadget. CTO Paul Lo handles the design of the circuit, and there are different teammates who work on packaging and testing. Their IC designs are divided into analog and digital.

Chang defined that for the storage gadget, if the info is saved within the chip, the corporate’s answer focuses on one-time programmed (OTP) reminiscence. The normal manufacturing course of is to program information into the chip throughout the programming course of, so the operation of writing information into the chip is left to others.

JMEM TEK’s OTP answer permits prospects to write down information after receiving the chip in order that nobody else can tamper with it. The safety of this half is thus ensured.

Nonetheless, defending the IP on the software program stage alone is just not sufficient, so the crew additionally has a {hardware} technique to forestall individuals from reverse engineering the chip.

Lo stated the structure of many IoT chips is comparatively easy and often has an OTP inside. However when they’re shipped to China, they’re unlocked and the firmware safety is disabled by numerous strategies, so it’s simple to repeat the firmware contained in the controller or the calibration code contained in the sensor.

“As communication know-how has superior from 4G to 5G, and can quickly transfer to 6G, we’ll quickly enter the period of the Web of Every thing,” Lo stated. “JMEM’s answer is to offer every gadget an unbiased identifier, identical to a human fingerprint. The characteristic, which remains to be in growth, known as the bodily uncloneable characteristic, which might add biometric identifiers to every gadget to substantiate whether or not it must be trusted and permitted. to entry info.”

Lo defined that every time a tool desires to connect with a neighborhood gadget, the system will detect if it’s a trusted gadget. If entry can’t be denied instantly, the danger of device-to-device hacking is tremendously decreased.

“This a part of the answer is within the safety of the authorization system, which is essentially totally different from conventional software program info safety on the community stage as a result of the authentication is added on the {hardware} stage,” stated Lo.

“As well as, we’re additionally engaged on the design of the chip’s IP encryption processing and stopping bypass assaults, corresponding to the usage of laser probes or electron waves to grasp the suggestions circuit,” stated Chang.

“We’re not making an attempt to exchange software program, however to offer a mix of software program and {hardware} to make the product safer,” Chang defined.

The most recent laws in Europe, america and China maintain system distributors responsible for losses brought on by insufficient system safety within the occasion of a hack, and the fines can typically attain as much as $1 billion. When such incidents happen, the funds and fame of system suppliers might be significantly affected. “This tremendously will increase the motivation for patrons to undertake chip info safety options,” Chang stated.

Chang famous that info safety has turn into more and more necessary: there’s a important enhance in analysis investigating it, and worldwide conferences on failure evaluation have additionally begun to handle info safety.

He believes that because the chip warfare between the US and China intensifies, the issue of copying chips in China will turn into an increasing number of severe. Previously, China copied amongst its personal producers, and when their know-how matures to a sure extent, they’ll start to repeat these produced by superior international locations, he stated.

The corporate’s future applications will initially give attention to two predominant verticals: IoT and automotive chips. Since IoT chips are often comparatively low-cost, it’s inconceivable so as to add many advanced features, and JMEM TEK’s options can obtain low-cost and easy features. Because it takes a protracted validation time for automotive purposes, JMEM will first give attention to IoT chips earlier than shifting on to automotive chips. For the automotive section, the corporate can depend on a number of traders who’ve connections with automotive producers.

JMEM’s earlier fundraising spherical was led by 500 World within the type of a Easy Fairness Futures Settlement (SAFE), and the subsequent spherical of fundraising has already obtained a number of commitments and has been oversubscribed.

JMEM declined to disclose the aim of the fundraising for 2023, however stated they plan to make use of the fund to make a shuttle out in Might 2023 for a silicon proof of idea, to show the feasibility of the method.

Since JMEM TEK’s enterprise mannequin is IP licensing, proof-of-concept in silico might be key to their success and due to this fact a aim to realize over the subsequent two years.

Reality field





Funding standing

Plan a Pre-A Fundraiser (2023)


8 individuals


CEO John Chang

CTO Paul Lo



Progressive R&D heart


Supply: JMEM TEK, compiled by DIGITIMES Asia, December 2022

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