32-bit microcontrollers beef up IP, data security

Posted By : Mick Elliott
32-bit microcontrollers beef up IP, data security

“Performance and integrity,” says Rich Hoefle, introducing Microchip Technology’s SAM L10/L11 family of 32-bit microcontrollers. Emphasising the point he adss that the Arm Cortex-based devices boast chip-level security features bolstered by the SAM L11 featuring Arm TrustZone for Armv8-M, a programmable environment that provides hardware isolation between certified libraries, IP and application code.  

Low power consumption and capacitive touch capability are also highlights Hoefle picks out.

“The chip-level tamper resistance is important,” says Hoefle, because these days everybody is connected, the more connections, the more the vulnerability.” It protects user applications from both remote and physical attacks.

He’s not joking when he cites the example of a casino’s database being hacked through the smart fish tank thermometer.

The TrustZone and a Secure Boot feature lead the SAM L11’s array of countermeasures guarding against software attacks including malicious code injection, malicious access to the memory or access keys as well as guarding against intellectual property theft.

Secure Bootloader and Secure Key storage protect any vulnerable firmware upgrades where malware could replace genuine programs.

An on-board cryptographic module supports Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), Galois Counter Mode (GCM) and Secure Hash Algorithm.

Says Hoefle, “We have simplified security, this chip dispels the developer’s perceptions that security is complex and delivers a comprehensive security framework.”

Microchip has partnered with Trustonic, a member of its Security Design Partner Programme to offer a security solution framework that simplifies implementation and accelerates time to market for customers. And it has joined with Secure Thingz and Data I/O to offer secure provisioning services for SAM L11 users that already have a proven security network.

A secure LoRa IoT node will be available within the next two months.

Armed with Microchip’s proprietary picoPower technology, both the SAM L10 and SAM L11 consume less than 25µa/MHz in active mode and less than 600nA in sleep mode, and less than 100nA in shut down, making it Microchip claims the industry’s lowest power consumption.

Both devices also feature Microchip’s Peripheral Touch Controller (PTC) for capacitive touch capabilities. It processes data from multiple buttons in parallel, and copes with running water, dew, sweat and rain. If the product falls in the bath, the touch screen will emerge in working order!

This durability makes the MCUs an attractive solution in automotive, appliance, medical and consumer human machine interface applications.

Development kits supporting both devices are available and further support comes via Atmel’s Studio 7 Integrated Development Environment, IAR Embedded Workbench, Arm Keil MDK, alongside Atmel’s START, a free online tool to configure peripherals and software for accelerated development.

The microcontrollers are available now and will be on sale at catalogue distributors this week.

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