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  Date: 30/06/2015

Main processor, security co-processor and crypto in single MCU chip

Freescale has launched a new Kinetis K8x multi-application microcontroller (MCU) family, basically offering integrated security features compared to multi-chip solutions in the market.

If the microcontroller is not having any security related features in it, then electronics design engineers add another security specific coprocessor to do the crypto and one more tamperproof protection IC to prevent physical tampering.

Kinetis K8x MCU family takes care of cryptography function as well as security against physical tampering of the device all in one IC. So this new single MCU solution can save additional components for security- important applications such as PoS equipment, smart energy gateways, home automation and building controls, portable healthcare devices and wearables.

This is an interesting trend in IOT enabled end-node applications designed using general-purpose microcontroller earlier, now they can design same system with assurance of security by using nearly general-purpose like microcontroller but internally enabled with security functions.

Freescale says this is the first ARM Cortex-M MCU with hardware asymmetric cryptography. And if you're concerned about the speed of processing, Freescale says "authentication is an order of magnitude faster than software implementations, freeing up code space and boosting power efficiency while meeting the needs of the latest communications protocols."

K8x MCU family supports execution from encrypted external memories, allowing secure scalability. Embedded tamper resistance capabilities on the Kinetis K8x MCU family protect against both physical and passive attacks.

Kinetis K8x devices leverage SD/eMMC, DRAM and the latest serial memories with quad/octal support, and execute in place (XIP) functionality. Large cache memory reduces latency and power consumption when using external memories. Additionally, boot and serial NOR flash options allow for added expandability. Multiple pin-to-pin and software compatible Kinetis devices are available from Freescale, offering scalable security levels. And a wide variety of memory interfaces provides the ability to securely update firmware and accelerate product development.

Freescale is now delivering Kinetis K8x MCU samples and development boards to lead customers worldwide. Full production for the K8x MCUs is planned for Q4 2015.

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