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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Two factor security IP designed into IoT microcontroller

By Nick Flaherty

eWBM is looking to gain a foothold in the competitive market for microcontrollers for the Internet of Things (IoT) with two factor authentication technology. 

Two factor authentication is more common for websites and apps, using a separate mobile phone number to confirm logins and changes. Designing the technology into a microcontroller gives IoT node and system developers more security options at a time when cybersecurity is a key issue. ST and Atmel (now part of Microchip) are both pushing their IoT security solutions. 
"With the increase in IoT security breaches, we needed to collaborate with a proven IP provider to deliver a microcontroller with superior security capabilities," said Stephen Oh, CEO at eWBM, a fast growing Korean fabless semiconductor company delivering cutting-edge technologies for both IoT and image processing devices. The company, little known in the West, is creating new concept of system-on-chip (SoC) products targeting wearable devices, smart metering, and home automation with security as the key factor.

Its MS1000 32bit microcontroller integrates a combination of DesignWare Security IP from Synopsys to perform secure boot, secure authentication, real-time integrity monitoring, secure storage for management of keys and other sensitive information, and hardware acceleration. The DesignWare tRoot Secure Hardware Root of Trust provides the security functions for Trusted Execution Environments, which enable connected devices to securely start up, identify, authenticate and communicate. 

Alongside an ARM Cortex-M3 core, the MS1000 has a separate CPU for security processing, which maximizes its security capabilities such as secure boot, real-time integrity monitoring and protection for side-channel attacks without compromising the performance of the main CPU. It also contains an embedded cryptographic hardware accelerator which improves the speed of encryption and decryption for secure communication protocols and secure data storage. 

By using the standards-compliant DesignWare Security IP, eWBM achieved Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) universal two-factor (U2F) certification for the microcontroller, demonstrating a robust single-chip solution that protects data from external attacks without requiring peripheral components.

"Synopsys was the only provider offering a comprehensive portfolio of security IP solutions that enabled us to implement the required hardware-based security features," said Oh. "It took only days to integrate and enabled us to deliver a robust, certified security microcontroller on schedule. Due to our success using the DesignWare IP, we immediately chose Synopsys for our new MS500/MS300 microcontrollers, and we expect the high-quality, widely deployed DesignWare IP to continue to meet our design needs."

"Currently we are working on developing Bluetooth security modules, IoT bridge modules, and gateway solutions with global partners, and also developing platforms for home automation, smart automotive, smart metering systems, FinTech, and many other applications with domestic and foreign solution companies," he added. 

The DesignWare TRNG IP provides standards-compliant, high-quality true random numbers that are crucial elements for security standards and protocols. The TRNG is fully digital and combines a whitening circuit with a noise source that provides automatic seeding of the random number stream. The configurable DesignWare Security Protocol Accelerator (SPAcc) reduces bus traffic and offers increased throughput by supporting efficient data sequencing as well as parallel processing of encryption and hashing cryptographic operations.

"Security is fundamental to the growth of the IoT, and incorporating security at the lowest levels of the SoC design helps protect devices through their lifecycles," said John Koeter, vice president of marketing for IP and prototyping at Synopsys. "Synopsys delivers a broad range of security IP solutions, including the tRoot Secure Hardware Root of Trust, TRNGs and SPAccs, which enable companies such as eWBM to create highly secure systems that protect connected devices from evolving threats."

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