White Papers

Cryptographic Ignition Keys: Implementation Methodology and Guidance

Applications: Crypto Ignition Keys (CIKs)

Datakey is the recognized leader in Crypto Ignition Keys (CIKs). CIKs are essential in many security applications and serve as a primary way to restrict access and de-classify equipment.

Throughout the years, Datakey has continuously demonstrated the ability to successfully design and manufacture portable memory systems for CIK applications that work reliably under harsh environmental conditions in tactical settings.


This white paper explains what a Crypto Ignition Key (CIK) is--discussing the purpose, function and benefits of using a CIK. It also presents implementation and design considerations.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What is a CIK
    1. Definitions
    2. Terminology
    3. Survey of Currently Available CIK Tokens
    4. How CIKs Work
    5. Other Design Considerations
  3. Benefits of a CIK
    1. Security Benefits
    2. Operational Benefits
    3. The Cryptographic Certification Benefits of a CIK
  4. Implementing a CIK
    1. Who Should Implement a CIK
    2. What Devices Should Implement a CIK
  5. Conclusion
  6. About the Author

Unclassified/FOUO Version Available

The white paper is available in two versions. The standard version may be downloaded by completing the form below. There is also an expanded (unclassified/FOUO) version of the white paper that is available to qualified individuals. To request a copy of the expanded (unclassified/FOUO) version, please contact us for details.

Our site uses cookies so that we, and our partners, can remember you and understand how you and other visitors use our site as per our Privacy Policy. If you prefer we don't use cookies, please disable them in your browser.