Skip to main content

Understand FIPS 140-2 and 140-3

Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140 are U.S. government criteria that provide a benchmark for the security of cryptographic modules. Both government and commercial sectors leverage these standards to ensure the secure handling of sensitive data.

FIPS 140-2: Established framework

FIPS 140-2, introduced in 2001, has served as a cornerstone in cryptographic module security, laying out stringent requirements across four levels of security, ensuring varying degrees of data protection suitable for different scenarios:

  • Security Level 1 Ensures basic security for general applications.

  • Security Level 2 Adds role-based authentication to prevent unauthorized access.

  • Security Level 3 Enhances protections for module identity and authentication data.

  • Security Level 4 Provides the highest degree of security against environmental and physical attacks.

FIPS 140-3: Next-Gen security

In 2019, FIPS 140-3 was introduced to keep up with evolving security demands, setting the stage for more robust protection mechanisms and reinforcing the relevance of FIPS standards in the face of advanced threats:

  • Security Level 1 Maintains basic security principles.

  • Security Level 2 Introduces tamper-evidence for enhanced physical security.

  • Security Level 3 Strengthens defenses against complex algorithmic attacks.

  • Security Level 4 Ensures comprehensive protection against high-level assault attempts.

Importance of FIPS validation

While FIPS standards are a government mandate, their influence extends far beyond, with many private and commercial organizations adopting them for improved trust, security, and regulatory advantages.

  • Defense Contractors Protecting national security information through encrypted communications and data storage.

  • Healthcare Providers Safeguarding patient information and ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of medical records.

  • Financial Institutions Securing financial transactions and sensitive customer data against fraud and breaches.

  • Cloud Service Providers Offering FIPS-validated cryptographic modules to clients who require compliance for their services.

Simplify FIPS compliance with TrustCore SDK

TrustCore SDK is designed with the stringent security measures of FIPS 140-2, currently holding certificates #4298 and #4299. For developers, this means a dependable set of cryptographic functions that align with established security protocols. We are also in the process of aligning with FIPS 140-3 to stay at the forefront of security technology. By providing a toolkit that meets these evolving standards, TrustCore SDK ensures that developers have the resources to build secure, compliant, and future-ready applications.

TrustCore SDK will ease the transition process:

  • From FIPS 140-2 to 140-3  TrustCore SDK provides tools and resources for a seamless migration.

  • Post-Quantum Cryptography TrustCore SDK is prepared for the next evolution in cryptographic standards, supporting algorithms that align with PQC initiatives.

Streamline your IoT development with TrustCore SDK. Achieve FIPS 140-2 and 140-3 certifications efficiently with our integrated NanoCrypto and NanoCAP modules. TrustCore SDK delivers security compliance and market access with precision. Code confidently, deliver robustly, and meet stringent standards with ease.

Additional resources

Explore the following resources for a deeper understanding of FIPS 140-2 and 140-3: