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June 13, 2011

Sony to launch next generation FeliCa contactless IC chip

-- New security with AES encryption standard --

Tokyo, Japan - Sony Corporation announces today the launch of the next generation FeliCa IC chip with enhanced security adopting the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption. The new IC chip will support AES as well as the existing DES encryption system for mutual authentication and data communication. The sample chip will be available for shipment from this winter, and mass production will start in the spring of 2012.
Sony’s contactless smart card technology “FeliCa” is widely deployed in card or mobile phone products for various applications including transit and payment where high performance and security is required. To date, more than 500 million FeliCa cards and mobile phone IC chips in total have already shipped throughout the world. *1
The newly developed IC chip will have the same command sets as the current DES-based FeliCa card system so that the FeliCa card with the new chip can easily be introduced into existing services. The new chip will have a security-migration function so that it will easily be able to migrate from the existing security system to the new AES encryption-based security.
JR East Group cooperated with Sony regarding the specification for the new OS.

With the new IC chip, Sony will develop and market a variety of forms of card, and in addition plans to develop next generation compatible products for mobile devices and reader platforms. The new IC chip will create a new lifestyle and range of applications where users feel daily convenience simply by “tapping” in an expanded FeliCa world.
*1:As of end of March 2011

Features of next generation FeliCa contactless IC chip

  • Highest level of security for contactless smart card chips
    It is planned to achieve the highest security level for this product by adding AES cryptographic functionality in addition to the current DES encryption for communication between card and reader/writer. Leading-edge anti-tampering technology will be implemented to achieve higher than EAL5+ certification level according to ISO/IEC15408 common criteria.

  • Multi-application platform with higher performance and reliability
    Both higher transaction speed and longer communication distance will be achieved for every type of card application such as transportation ticket and electronic money. This will be achieved by pursuing further lower power consumption than the current FeliCa IC chips. It will improve reliability of nonvolatile memory data by implementing new Error Checking and Correcting (ECC) functionality.

  • Security-migration function and backward compatibility with the current FeliCa IC chips
    New FeliCa IC chip will be compatible with the current product in terms of the command set both for DES cryptography and without security. It will be compatible to existing infrastructure using cryptographic communication with existing reader/writers supporting DES encryption and non-secure-based communication with readers such as FeliCa Port and PaSoRi. In addition, it will include a security-migration function in order to support the existing DES cryptography-based system as well as future upgrades to the AES based system.(Please see the below)
  • FeliCa

<Comparison with the current FeliCa(Standard) IC chip>


New FeliCa IC chip Current FeliCa(Standard) IC chip
Communication standard Supports ISO/IEC18092 (212kbps or 424 kbps passive communication mode)
Operating frequency 13.56MHz
Modulation method ASK modulation
Bit coding Manchester encoding system
Communication speed Supports automatic 212/424kbps switching Supports automatic 212/424kbps switching (*1 *2)
Nonvolatile memory Memory size 6KB 4KB(*2*3)
Error Checking and Correcting (ECC) function Yes None
User memory 255 blocks (*4 *5) 154 blocks (*2 *3 *4 *6)
Memory separation 4 partitions 4 partitions (*1 *2)
Reader/Writer authentication Mutual authentication via triple DES or AES (128bit key length) encryption algorithm Mutual authentication via triple DES encryption algorithm
Communication path encryption DES or AES encryption algorithm DES encryption algorithm
Supported commands DES encrypted commands, AES encrypted commands and non-encrypted commands DES encrypted commands and non-encrypted commands

*1: RC-S960 series

*2: RC-S962 series

*3: RC-S915 series

*4: 1 block is equal to 16 bytes.

*5: Includes 6 blocks as system management block. The area and service definition blocks will take up 2 blocks each.

*6: Includes 4 blocks as system management block

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