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Friday, March 06, 2020

Silicon Labs launches security tech for system-on-chip designers

By Nick Flaherty

Silicon Labs has developed physically unclonable function (PUF) hardware to reduce the risk of IoT security breaches and compromised intellectual property in system-on-chip designs. The first SoC devices will be launched later this month.

The Secure Vault technology is a suite of security features designed to help connected device manufacturers address Internet of Things (IoT) security and data threats. It includes a dedicated core, bus and memory, is separate from the host processor. This hardware separation isolates critical features, such as secure key store management and cryptography, into their own functional areas, making the overall device more secure. 

This will be used in the Wireless Gecko Series 2 platform that will be launched by the end of Q2 2020.

"The security landscape is changing rapidly, and IoT developers face increasing pressure to step up device security and meet evolving regulatory requirements," said Matt Johnson, senior vice president and general manager of IoT product at Silicon Labs. "Secure Vault simplifies development, accelerates time-to-market and helps device makers future-proof products by taking advantage of the most advanced integrated hardware and software security protection available today for IoT wireless SoCs."

"Embedded security is a key requirement for IoT products, and software updates alone cannot address all vulnerabilities present in insecure hardware," said Tanner Johnson, senior cybersecurity analyst at Omdia. "As a result, hardware components can comprise the front line of defense for device security, especially with new legislation targeting IoT product security."

Secure Vault is also aimed at devices addressing emerging regulatory measures, such as GDPR in Europe and SB-327 in California, making it secure updates to connected devices possible over-the-air (OTA) throughout the product lifecycle.
One of the biggest challenges for connected devices is post-deployment authentication. The trust provisioning service with optional secure programming provides a secure device identity certificate during chip manufacture for each individual silicon die.

Keys are encrypted and isolated from the application code, and virtually unlimited secure key storage is offered as all keys are encrypted using a master encryption key generated using a PUF. The power-up signatures are unique to a single device, and master keys are created during the power-up phase to eliminate master key storage, further reducing attack vectors.

Advanced Tamper Detection includes easy-to-implement product enclosure tamper resistance to sophisticated tamper detection of silicon through voltage, frequency and temperature manipulations. Hackers use these changes to force hardware or software to behave unexpectedly, creating vulnerabilities for glitch attacks. Configurable tamper-response features enable developers to set up appropriate response actions with interrupts, resets, or in extreme cases, secret key deletion.

Silicon Labs is currently sampling new Secure Vault-enabled wireless SoCs, which are planned to be released in late Q2 2020.

Silicon Labs
Silicon Labs (NASDAQ: SLAB) is a leading provider of silicon, software and solutions for a smarter, more connected world. Our award-winning technologies are shaping the future of the Internet of Things, Internet infrastructure, industrial automation, consumer and automotive markets. Our world-class engineering team creates products focused on performance, energy savings, connectivity and simplicity.

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