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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Barco Silex and Imagination collaborate on IoT chip security

By Nick Flaherty

In an interesting move that highlights the fractured nature of security, Imagination is working with Belgian display company Barco Silex to add custom security to the MIPS family of processors.

Rather than using its own security technology, Imagination will integrate Barco Silex’ eSecure embedded security into a new Trusted Element (TE) IP product. The licensable TE will enhance security for customers’ connected devices.

eSecure turns ASIC and SoC designs into fully-secured hardware platforms. Under the agreement, Barco Silex will provide an embedded security solution based on eSecure which will embed a MIPS microAptiv CPU as an ultra-low power controller. Imagination will then provide customers with a range of robust security options designed around eSecure for their MIPS-based SoCs for systems as diverse as data center equipment to low-power IoT wireless sensor nodes. 

This will give Imagination’s TE secure boot, root of trust, authentication for systems that operate in a trusted execution environment, and more. In a system that uses Imagination’s OmniShield-ready MIPS CPUs for multi-domain security, this combination will provide high levels of system security performance and capabilities for connected devices.

“In an increasingly connected world, having security embedded in hardware is a must,” says Jim Nicholas, EVP, MIPS business unit at Imagination. “Imagination has been at the forefront of driving multi-domain hardware security with our OmniShield technology. Now with Barco Silex’ eSecure, we have selected a state-of-the-art solution to add a new level of hardware security to our 32/64-bit MIPS processor based subsystems. Today, our MIPS CPUs already power billions of products. By integrating this exceptional security platform, we are further strengthening that position.”

Barco Silex’ eSecure module functions as hardware root-of-trust, guaranteeing the authenticity and integrity of the application’s hardware, software, data, and communication. It offloads all security operations to hardware and scales according to the needs of the application. eSecure takes care of the secure storage and management of keys, and its cryptographic engine supports the latest algorithms for TLS/DTLS 1.3, Thread Networking, Apple HomeKit, Bluetooth, ZigBee and more.

“We are very pleased be part of this ambitious collaboration. It squarely fits with our ambition to help create secure and intuitive IoT devices, networking platforms from device to cloud and enterprise systems,” comments Thierry Watteyne, CEO of Barco Silex. “This agreement recognizes the quality of our security solutions and the reach of our expertise. In addition it will help our developers to further push our embedded security platforms beyond the state-of-the-art, especially in terms of optimizing the low-power/high-security ratio in chip architectures.”

Imagination’s range of Trusted Element IP will be available for licensing in mid-2017. 

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