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16bit DSCs feature advanced security

Posted: 03 Aug 2006     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Microchip  CodeGuardn  dsPIC  PIC24H  security 

Microchip Technology Inc. has announced that its dsPIC digital signal controllers (DSCs) and PIC24H MCUs are the world's first 16bit devices with advanced security features that allow multiple parties in a collaborative system design to share the memory, interrupts and peripherals of a single chip without compromising their intellectual property (IP). This memory segmentation reduces system costs for OEMs and their design partners by eliminating the need to store programs on separate chips.

In embedded applications, OEMs, design houses and software vendors face some critical issues in trying to protect their IP while collaborating on system designs to achieve end-product customisation.

CodeGuardn security can eliminate these collaboration and security concerns by enabling OEMs to divide and share three segments of on-chip memory with tiered levels of security—the Boot Segment, Secure Segment and General Segment. This segmentation allows design houses or algorithm vendors to protect proprietary software in secure memory segments while permitting a range of applications to access algorithm operation from other segments. Additionally, CodeGuard security, coupled with Microchip's low-cost encryption software libraries, enables secure field upgrades of product firmware. These secure field updates of firmware can be further improved by decrypting the incoming data stream entirely within a secure segment's resources, explained the company.

"With the world becoming increasingly security conscious, adding a layered security capability to our 16bit products is a natural evolution for high-end embedded designs," said Sumit Mitra, VP of Microchip's Digital Signal Controller Division. "Whether the goal is to implement secure communication, protect code updates, or allow multiple parties to securely share the resources of one controller, CodeGuard security provides a solution."

The CodeGuard security found on Microchip's 16bit devices features segmented Flash memory with code protection options for each segment. Combining CodeGuard security with encryption software libraries enables a secure kernel that ensures tamper-resistant firmware upgrades and application deployments in the field. This feature of CodeGuard security is particularly beneficial to applications in the automotive, industrial and consumer markets, such as automobile engine electronics. Applications such as telecom, power distribution/metering and authentication can also take advantage of this security.

Advanced implementation of CodeGuard security is already available, at no additional charge, onboard the following Microchip devices: all PIC24H MCUs, all dsPIC33 DSCs, dsPIC30F5011/5013 and dsPIC30F6010A/6011A/6012A/6013A/6014A/6015.

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