Freescale offers on-chip security features for prevention of automotive electronics tampering

1st March 2011
ES Admin

The security of automotive electronics systems is an escalating topic of concern for automotive OEMs, owners and the insurance industry. Electronic control of automotive systems is steadily increasing, with large amounts of data streaming through body control modules (BCM)/gateways. Freescale Semiconductor is helping significantly reduce the security risks for that data with new additions to its MPC56xx family of Qorivva 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) built on Power Architecture technology.

At the high end, the MPC564xB/C devices are the first MCUs for the automotive market that incorporate a cryptographic services engine (CSE), which enables secure and trustworthy transmission of information between electronic components. Cryptography is used in the automotive industry to encode and decode data for various functions, such as blocking illegal manipulation of a vehicle’s mileage, activating immobilizers that prevent a car from being stolen without the key and preventing individual electronic control units from being dismantled and reused in other vehicles.

The entry-level MPC560xD devices are cost-optimized, single controller area network (CAN) node solutions featuring low power consumption for demanding OEM power budgets, small package footprints and a wide range of communication interfaces such as LIN, SPI and CAN. The MPC560xD is optimal for body control end nodes, such as the ones used in door and seat applications.

“The security of a car’s electronic systems is critical to the operation of the vehicle and the safety of its occupants,” said Ray Cornyn, director of Freescale’s Automotive MCU business. “Our Qorivva MPC56xx family offers solutions at both ends of the performance spectrum and provides the peace of mind that comes with having advanced security features without sacrificing power or cost.”

Increasing performance while slamming the brakes on theft
Built for the next generation of central vehicle body control, high-end gateways and smart junction boxes, the MPC564xB/C devices offer up to 300 DMIPS of performance, ideal for executing large amounts of code in a CPU-intensive BCM/gateway application. The MPC564xB/C implements a CSE that supports the secure hardware extension (SHE) specification published in 2009 by the Hersteller Initiative Software consortium of European car makers.

Many BCM applications support security through encryption capabilities in software. However, this is a riskier security method than a hardware solution, and the software can potentially be vulnerable to attacks. The CSE included in the Freescale devices moves control of the cryptographic keys from the software to the hardware domain to significantly reduce security risks. The CSE module helps protect the security keys from hackers, provides an authentic software environment and allows for distributed key ownership.

Range of devices to meet individual needs
The MPC560xD and MPC564xB/C Qorivva MCUs join the previously announced MPC560xB/C devices to provide a comprehensive portfolio of solutions for automotive body electronics applications. The advanced, cost-efficient host processor core leverages the many strengths of Power Architecture technology, such as processing capability, on-chip memory, analog capabilities, timing systems and other features required to handle complex control and diagnostic systems. In addition, these scalable devices are supported by an enablement ecosystem that includes software drivers, operating systems and configuration code to help developers quickly implement their designs. With more than 200 million 32-bit Power Architecture MCUs shipped to date, Freescale has established itself as a proven, trusted supplier of solutions for the automotive electronics market.

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