LEVL Technologies Inc.

LEVL delivers a wireless device authentication platform for the automotive market that applies the unique radio signature found in every wireless chip. By detecting and incorporating this physical-layer fingerprint into wireless communications, LEVL eliminates critical vehicle security challenges that existing solutions fail to address. Initial applications include passive entry passive start (PEPS) systems, tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) and, general wireless connectivity security. Enhancing PEPS technologies with LEVL’s solution allows convenient and secure access to a vehicle using external devices such as a fob, a smartphone, a smart watch, or others.

OEMs prefer LEVL because of its unique mix of customer convenience advantages given its passive nature, its preservation of consumer privacy and its cost leadership given its flexibility in implementation.

LEVL has worked with Arm and Arm Licensees to ensure an efficient implementation. The technology can run on many Cortex devices and has a small RAM/ROM footprint. We have worked with major BLE semiconductor makers to deliver easy to adopt & deploy software libraries to initial customers. The company is based on Palo Alto California, is funded by Silicon Valley venture firms, and has received significant commercial commitments.


"There is no doubt that Arm’s continued investment in making the Cortex series more “mathematically” capable has enhanced LEVL's fingerprinting algorithms. The improved math-related functions allow our embedded software to use device resources more effectively and run our physical layer authentication technology faster. The net is a better user experience with less system resources which can in turn open new market opportunities for us."

Michael Estrin, CTO, and Founder

Solutions

LEVL provides a software platform for authentication of wireless devices that interact with a vehicle. Their current solution can detect and mitigate relay, replay, and spoofing attacks on BLE sensors within vehicles (and act as a secondary factor in case of attack/breach of digital credentials). Their solution is an ideal fit for BLE authentication in PEPS systems and TPMS systems which are based on BLE connectivity. They currently have solutions for Wi-Fi, LF PEPs systems and more proven and under development.

Their software platform utilizes Radio Fingerprinting for seamless authentication. It is out of band and passive and effective against malware and brute-force attacks. It can be run on BLE SOCs across the range of Cortex offerings. Their technology catalogs and characterizes anomalies and imperfections in the radio wave to create a “fingerprint” for the radio. Using this approach, LEVL creates a physical ID for any wireless device, just by observing its radio waveform. This approach works even if devices are the same make and manufacturer model. LEVL technology has numerous benefits in automotive applications:

  • Cost effectively BLE attack prevention: LEVL prevents relay, replay, and various impersonation attacks in a very cost-effective manner. As a software only solution, LEVL typically fits within the footprint of existing process capabilities on the vehicle. They do not require any new hardware and do not require any software on the wireless client device.
  • Easy to deploy: LEVL is easy to deploy with a simple set of low resource plug-ins on wireless receivers (access points/Hubs) and a cloud service.
  • Works with legacy devices: Since no software or modification is required on the device and since every wirelessly connected device has a radio, this authentication method works retroactively with legacy devices and new ones. 
  • Device-to-device communication: No human intervention is required to use LEVL's authentication method ensuring optimal user/consumer workflow is preserved.
  • Independent of encryption (certificates): Because LEVL creates a physical (not digital) ID, it works if encryption is not possible or if it has not been correctly applied or has known security holes. 
  • Cannot be brute-forced: unlike digital identifiers and passwords, a physical ID cannot be hacked by brute-forcing.

The solution has two main libraries. The first is an ultra-lightweight embedded library which is linked to the firmware of the BLE receiver on the vehicle. This library, which runs on various BLE SOCs featuring Cortex class processors, collects the BLE RF data and uses it for real-time authentication of the BLE device. The second library can sit on a local processor or in the cloud and it is responsible for device training and registration. The solution is rounded out with appropriate examples and documentation.

Resources

Various documentation, code examples and, videos are available on engaging with LEVL. Technical support is available through ticket, email, and phone. LEVL also works with BLE semiconductor development kits with a downloadable set of software libraries.

Website: www.levltech.com.