VIA Unveils New Approach to Mobile Computing Security with VIA StrongBox

VIA StrongBox software application enables VIA PadLock hardware security for bulletproof protection against identity theft and physical loss of data; $5000 challenge issued at the ‘Hack in the Box’ security conference

Taipei, Taiwan, 27 September 2005 – VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, today made available VIA StrongBox, a secure virtual drive application that utilizes the VIA PadLock Security Engine in VIA C7 and VIA C7-M processors to enable real-time encryption of data on local storage devices using military-grade security algorithms. The security of VIA StrongBox will be put to the test with a US$5000 prize on offer during the annual OPEN HACK competition at this year’s Hack in the Box security conference being held in Malaysia this week.

Viruses, worms, hacking and identity theft have become an everyday part of computing, with the result that the security of our personal and confidential business information is emerging as the single biggest issue in computing today. Notebook PCs are especially vulnerable, with their easy portability creating a much higher risk of theft and loss – reports show that a staggering 10% of notebooks are stolen annually.

VIA StrongBox empowers users to safely store as much as 40 gigabytes of their personal documents, photos, and files in up to ten virtual ‘strongbox’ drives, with a stylish, intuitive interface for easy configuration and management. Information can be saved and retrieved on unlocked StrongBox drives just like any other storage device, but when locked or when the computer is shut down, VIA StrongBox encrypts all the contents in real time, rendering them 100% unreadable and inaccessible to unauthorized users.

Using a combination of the military-grade secure hash algorithm SHA-1 and the unbreakable AES 256-bit algorithm to secure drive contents, VIA StrongBox employs the powerful hardware security features of the VIA PadLock Security Engine built into every VIA C7-M processor to provide lightning-fast encryption with no impact on system performance.

“VIA StrongBox is an excellent example of the proactive approach VIA is taking to enable pervasive mobile security by taking full advantage of the unbeatable strength and speed of the VIA PadLock Security Engine,” commented Richard Brown , Vice President of Corporate Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “As notebooks are increasingly favoured over desktops, applications like VIA StrongBox combined with the VIA C7-M processor are enabling a new breed of ultra secure functionality that is of paramount importance for mobile device users.”

To help highlight and raise awareness of the issues facing mobile security, VIA will sponsor this year’s annual OPEN HACK competition taking place during the Hack in the Box Security Conference being held at the Westin Kuala Lumpur Hotel, Malaysia from 26-29 th September 2005. The competition will challenge event participants to test their hacking skills in a real life scenario, using a VIA C7-M processor-based notebook with VIA StrongBox installed as the target. If hacked, the winner will collect the VIA-sponsored prize worth US$5000. The winner is the first participant to successfully thwart the protection offered by VIA StrongBox, and to access and read a document stored inside.

About VIA StrongBox

VIA StrongBox runs on all VIA C7 and VIA C7-M processors, as well as VIA C3 and VIA Eden processors based on the ‘Nehemiah’ C5P core, and enables up to 10 virtual drives to be created on a system hard drive, each with a potential maximum size of four gigabytes. Users assign each virtual StrongBox drive a physical size limit, a drive letter, a unique password and password hint, and may create their own password hint reminder question for enhanced password safety.

Accessed by either the VIA StrongBox control center or the standard Microsoft ® Windows ® file manager, the application gives users the option to lock and unlock a drive, manage their drives, and configure them to automatically lock up on the activation of a screen saver, or to enact a timed lock-out following multiple incorrect password entries.

Available for free download from the VIA product and technical information portal VIA Arena, t he VIA StrongBox software joins an existing suite of VIA PadLock-enabled applications released by VIA and its partners, as the latest demonstration of the effectiveness of the VIA PadLock Security Engine. With the VIA PadLock Security Initiative, VIA is laying down a strong foundation for security by providing a comprehensive set of powerful building blocks to create the building of dynamic digital fortresses to protect valuable information from existing and emerging cyber threats.

To find out more about VIA StrongBox, please visit the VIA website

About the VIA C7-M Mobile Processor

The VIA C7-M processor was designed to inspire a new breed of mobile devices, featuring a unique architecture that enables high performance with low power, cool temperature operation. As the smallest x86 mobile PC processor, the VIA C7-M processor is targeted specifically at the mainstream, thin and light, and ultra portable notebook segments.

To enhance the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of electronic data for mobile users on the go, the VIA C7-M has augmented the industry-leading on-die hardware cryptographic acceleration features within the VIA PadLock Security Engine, adding SHA-1 and SHA-256 hashing for secure message digests for data integrity, and a hardware based Montgomery Multiplier supporting key sizes up to 32K in length to accelerate public key cryptography, such as RSA™, to the world’s best random number generator (RNG) and AES Encryption Engine in the previous processor generation. The VIA C7-M also provides execute protection (NX), providing protection from malicious software such as worms and viruses, and is used in Microsoft® Windows® XP with SP2. Integrating security directly onto the processor die ensures speeds and efficiency many times that available in software, yet with negligible impact on processor performance.

About Hack in the Box: HITBSecConf2005 – Malaysia

HITBSecConf2005 – Malaysia is the 5th conference in the HITBSecConf conference series and is supported and endorsed by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and Malaysia Administrative Modernisation & Management Planning Unit (MAMPU). Malaysia Airlines is the Official Airline Partner for the event.

About VIA Technologies, Inc.

VIA Technologies, Inc. (TSE 2388) is the foremost fabless supplier of market-leading core logic chipsets, low power x86 processors, advanced connectivity, multimedia, networking and storage silicon, and complete platform solutions that are driving system innovation in the PC and embedded markets. Headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, VIA’s global network links the high tech centers of the US, Europe and Asia , and its customer base includes the world’s top OEMs, motherboard vendors and system integrators.

VIA Technologies, Inc.