Maxim chip secures system IP and microcontroller links

Maxim Integrated Products says it is possible to retrofit IP security technology to microcontroller based designs.

It has introduced a secure encryption IC which sits alongside the host controller to authenticate peripherals or embedded designs. It also offers encrypted bidirectional communications from the microcontroller.

Maxim sees an obvious need for greater levels of IP security embedded in the hardware, be it in a IT data centre or smart meter, or in a factory automation system or medical device.

“The key to secure systems is to embed security into the hardware and even into the chip,” said Chris Neil, senior v-p industrial and medical products at Maxim Integrated.

Called DeepCover embedded security, the device will provide secure storage of the authentication secret keys. It uses the FIPS 180 based SHA-256 authentication algorithm.

“The attraction of this is an IP authentication technology can be retro-fitted to an existing microcontroller,” said Neil.

The DS28C22 protects bidirectional communications between the microcontroller and its peripherals using challenge-and-response authentication with small message encryption.

Control and Automation Campaign_PR Graphic_diagram_DS28C22Through bidirectional authentication, the host and the peripheral authenticate one another, protecting the IP in the peripheral from a non-authentic host trying to modify operation of the peripheral.

Likely applications include peripherals/disposables, sensors, network equipment, IP licensing, and industrial applications like programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

The chip is available in an 8-pin TDFN package. It is specified over the -40 °C to +85 °C temperature range.
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Courtesy of:
Richard Wilson
Electronics Weekly