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Secure authenticator protects data even without MCU host

Posted: 06 Nov 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Maxim Integrated Products  secure authenticator  NFC  RFID  embedded system 

Maxim Integrated Products Inc. has introduced the MAX66242 DeepCover secure authenticator that enables designers to perform secure wireless data communication on their embedded systems without needing the host MCU. According to the company, the advanced tag combines a wireless NFC/RFID interface with an I2C interface, allowing designers to gather vital system data from portable devices even when the main energy source on the master device is not operational.

The I2C and wireless RFID/NFC interfaces make the solution highly flexible and scalable for a range of applications, noted Maxim. The MAX66242 is intended for applications that require additional external functionality, but do not have the space to place a connector. Target applications include secure, wireless transfer of medical data or asset tracking.

[In related news: Embedded security solution uses bidirectional authentication]


The MAX66242 enables wireless, contactless data collection between a host and slave device. The integrated, proven SHA-256 cryptographic engine provides symmetric challenge-and-response authentication based on a secret key for data downloads. Needing no separate controller to write data, the MAX66242's I2C interface port can operate as a master port or a slave port for secure data exchanges. The device comes with multiple memory programmable options that let a user configure a secure master/slave system and set usage limits using the EEPROM emulation mode to create non-resettable counters. Designers can also use the MAX66242 to set up easy and intuitive WiFi or Bluetooth connections as a means to securely storing the pairing codes. It then provides security for access control, asset tracking, system alert/wakeup and authentication of medical sensors for the secure transfer of personal data.

The MAX66242 does not require an external power source. Instead it integrates an energy harvesting capability that can be used to power surrounding ICs such as a temperature sensor, which is connected via the I2C interface. Using this harvested energy, the MAX66242 provides the energy source to the slave device and gathers data from it. The energy harvesting feature also complements the existing power source in battery-powered devices, so it will extend overall battery life.

The MAX66242 is specified over the -20°C to 85°C temperature range and supports two energy-harvested voltage output levels, 1.8V and 3.3V typical, and harvests energy even on devices without a power source. It also integrates SHA-256 bidirectional authentication with advanced security hardware; 32byte SRAM buffer for fast I2C-to-RFID data transactions; and dual interfaces that eliminate the need for a separate controller.

Pricing is available upon request.

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