Microcontroller delivers secure key storage and tamper detection

2nd August 2018
Posted By : Lanna Cooper
Microcontroller delivers secure key storage and tamper detection

Manufacturers of security-sensitive industrial, consumer, computing and IoT devices now have a fast, efficient way to build in secure cryptographic operations, integrate key storage and enable active tamper detection with the MAX32558. As the newest member of the DeepCover family of secure microcontrollers from Maxim, the MAX32558 offers these robust security features while enabling designers to save up to 50% of PCB space versus the closest competitor, according to the company.

As electronic products become smaller and increasingly connected, there is a growing threat to sensitive information and privacy, requiring manufacturers to keep security top of mind when designing their devices.

While designers should prevent security breaches at the device level, they often struggle with the tradeoff of enhanced security with minimised board space, as well as with design complexity and meeting time to market goals.

The MAX32558 DeepCover Arm Cortex-M3 flash-based secure microcontroller solves these challenges by delivering strong security in a small footprint while simplifying design integration and speeding time to market. It integrates several security features into a small package, including secure key storage, a secure bootloader, active tamper detection and secure cryptographic engines.

It also supports multiple communications channels such as USB, Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI), Universal Asynchronous Receiver-Transmitter (UART) and I2C, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.

Maxim’s long-standing reputation and experience in payment terminal certifications as well as its established support and technology can help streamline the certification process for customers, reducing the process up to six months’ time (rather than the typical 12-18 months).

Key advantages

  • Robust security:
    • Shields sensitive data by providing the most secure key storage available
    • Offers secure bootloader, active tamper detection and secure cryptographic engines
    • Compliant with Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 L3&4 certification
  • Highly integrated solution in a small footprint:
    • Compared to a secure authenticator, the MAX32558 provides 30x more General-Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) in the same PCB footprint (4.34x4.34mm) Wafer-Level Package (WLP). The closest competitor, meanwhile, offers a device with similar features but in a much larger package (8x9mm ball-grid array 121 (BGA121))
    • Reduces footprint by embedding a number of security features to address point-of-sale Payment Card Industry (PCI) Pin Transaction Security (PTS) requirements, as well as several analogue interfaces
    • Provides 512KB of internal flash and 96KB of internal SRAM
  • Easy design integration:
    • Complete software framework including Real Time Operating System (RTOS) integration and code examples in evaluation kit
    • Code can be easily ported from one device to another as it shares the same API software library as the rest of the product family
    • Pre-certified Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV)-L1 stack for smartcard interface provided
    • Includes extensive documentation and code for managing the device life cycle, such as secure firmware signing and device personalisation

“Maxim continues to bring together the functions and interfaces required to build new generations of devices which incorporate advanced features that consumers can trust with their personal data,” said Gregory Guez, Executive Director, Micros, Security and Software Business Unit at Maxim Integrated.

"We have significantly shrunk the size of the MAX32558 microcontroller without compromising on our exceptional security features, saving valuable board real estate. Additionally, our deep security expertise speeds consumers’ time to market up to six months."

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