DSP, Micros & Memory


Cryptographic MCU protects against malware

29 April 2020 DSP, Micros & Memory

With the rapid growth of 5G including new cellular infrastructure, growing networks and data centres supporting expanding cloud computing, developers are seeking new ways to ensure operating systems remain secure and uncompromised. Microchip Technology recently announced a new cryptography-enabled microcontroller (MCU), the CEC1712, with Soteria-G2 custom firmware – designed to stop malicious malware such as rootkit and bootkit for systems that boot from external Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) Flash memory.

Microchip’s Soteria-G2 custom firmware on its full-featured CEC1712 Arm Cortex-M4-based microcontroller provides secure boot with hardware root of trust protection in a pre-boot mode for those operating systems booting from external SPI Flash memory. In addition, the CEC1712 provides key revocation and code rollback protection during operating life, enabling in-field security updates.

Complying with NIST 800-193 guidelines, the CEC1712 protects, detects and recovers from corruption for total system platform firmware resiliency. The secure boot with hardware root of trust is critical in protecting the system against threats before they can load into the system and only allows the system to boot using software trusted by the manufacturer.

The Soteria-G2 firmware is designed to be used in conjunction with the CEC1712 to allow designers to speed adoption and implementation of a secure boot, by simplifying the code development and reducing risk. Soteria-G2 uses the CEC1712 immutable secure bootloader, implemented in read-only memory (ROM), as the system root of trust.

The CEC1712 secure bootloader loads, decrypts and authenticates the firmware to run on the CEC1712 from the external SPI Flash. The validated CEC1712 code subsequently authenticates the firmware stored in SPI Flash for the first application processor. Up to two application processors are supported with two Flash components supported for each.

Pre-provisioning of customer-specific data is an option provided by Microchip or Arrow Electronics. Pre-provisioning is a secure manufacturing solution to help prevent overbuilding and counterfeiting. In addition to saving up to several months of development time, the solution significantly simplifies provisioning logistics, making it easy for customers to secure and manage devices without the overhead cost of third-party provisioning services or certificate authorities.

In addition to preventing malicious malware during pre-boot in 5G and data centre operating systems, Microchip’s CEC1712 and Soteria-G2 combination is a security enabler for connected autonomous vehicle operating systems, automotive advanced driver assisted systems (ADAS) and other systems that boot out of external SPI Flash.

For more information contact Dirk Venter, Altron Arrow, +27 11 923 9600, dventer@arrow.altech.co.za, www.arrow.altech.co.za


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