SAM AV

Most devices based on the SpringCore architecture feature a NXP® MIFARE SAM AV2 or AV3 (in short: SAM AV3).

This chip is the SMD version of a tamper-proof, security-oriented smart card. It is suitable to store secret keys and to perform cryptographic operations without disclosing them.

Use cases

The SAM AV Secure Element is the core of many features.

For PC/SC Operation

  • PICC secure transaction: SpringCore supports mutual authentication with secure contactless smart cards (MIFARE DESFire®, MIFARE Plus®, etc) and handle the secure communication channel (ciphering, CMAC) with them,
  • PICC secure key loading: the SAM AV in the SpringCore devices stores your application's secret keys safely, and programs them securely into your contactless smart cards at pre-personalization or issuing stage, even from an untrusted computer,
  • Application license key and authenticity check: value-added solution integrators may use the SAM AV in the SpringCore to control the distribution of their software or the communication with their servers in the cloud.

For Smart Reader Operation

  • PICC secure transaction: SpringCore supports mutual authentication with secure contactless smart cards (MIFARE DESFire®, MIFARE Plus®, etc) and handle the secure communication channel (ciphering, CMAC) with them,
  • Secure master-cards: the configuration of a SpringCore device can easily be changed in-the-field using master-cards; the SAM AV ensures that a master-card come from a trusted source and protects its content from eavesdropping,

For remote communication

  • Host secure communication: the SpringCore host interfaces supports mutual authentication and secure communication with the host computer, for remote channels (Bluetooth and Network).

Advanced uses

All the use-cases listed above are exposed by the SpringCore host interface in a convenient way, hiding most of the complexity of the SAM AV implementation details. The entry-points also prevent any incorrect use that may otherwise lock the SAM and removes the need for the integrators ad developers to get access to NXP's restricted-access documents.

Anyway, advanced developers who already have a good knowledge of the SAM AV may go one step further and bypass SpringCore's SAM AV related instructions, and access the SAM AV as if it were a standard smartcard in a PC/SC slot.

To do so, just see enable the Secure Element through the PC/SC interface by setting bit 7 in the PC/SC slot listing configuration register and read carefully the Key mapping paragraph.

Warning:

Do not try to change keys 00 to 07 (Vendor keys) as they are required for proper operation of the SpringCore device.

Changing any of these keys voids the warranty and may permanently lock the device.