The Entropy Key, or eKey, is a small, unobtrusive and easily installed USB stick that generates high-quality random numbers, or entropy, which can improve the performance, security and reliability of servers. It can also be used with scientific, gambling and lottery applications, or anywhere where good random numbers are needed. It has been developed by UK-based Simtec Electronics, a design consultancy and manufacturing partner with 20 years of experience in designing and building high-speed, high-performance electronics with a speciality in embedded ARM-based designs. It is currently undergoing testing with the help of selected customers.
The eKey contains two high-quality quantum noise generators, and an ARM Cortex CPU that actively measures, checks and confirms all generated random numbers, before encrypting them and sending them to the server. It also actively detects attempts to corrupt or sway the device. It aims towards FIPS-140-2 Level 3 compliance with some elements of Level 4, including tamper-evidence, tamper-proofing, role-based authentication, and environmental attacks. If it detects that one of its two generators has failed, may be about to fail, or if it detects a physical attack, it will automatically shut down.