Electronic Design
Security Secrets Aren’t So Secret

Security Secrets Aren’t So Secret

Technology announcements roll across my desk on a regular basis. Designers should be interested in many of these products and technologies that are related to security.

Still, many of these announcements are for specialized areas such as ARM’s SC000 (Fig. 1). This Smart Card architecture is based on ARM’s Cortex-M0 microcontroller. The platform is very important because of the security involved, but it is a requirement. Also, designers who deal with security are typically well versed in the requirements and solutions.

The same is true for CPU Technology’s dual-core Acalis processor (Fig. 2). Unlike most dual-core systems, this one is designed specifically for security (see “Dual PowerPC Micro Delivers Secure Processing Platform”). It targets military and government applications where developers are again well versed in the challenges and defenses.


The problem is that almost any developer creating an embedded solution needs to consider security from day one. Unfortunately, the spectrum of issues can be daunting.

Take Energizer’s snafu with its USB Duo Battery Charger (see “Energizer USB Battery Charger Introduces Backdoor”) or any number of digital picture frames (Fig. 3). These devices had Trojan horse viruses introduced late in the supply chain simply because they have storage that interacts with a PC.

At the other end of the spectrum are the usual attacks on security devices such as home gateways. The threats and solutions are completely different here. Often, they have little to do with encryption and more with logic and policy.

One area where both show up is the security application processor market where products like unified threat management (UTM) appliances are important. Many companies started from scratch to create a secure and high-performance platform. But these days, OEMs and ODMs are turning toward solutions like Freescale’s VortiQa application software.

VortiQa targets Freescale’s multicore QorIQ and PowerQUICC processors. This allows Freescale to do the heavy lifting on the security side as well as provide scalability from a single-core system up to the eight-core QoreIQ P4080 (see “Multicore And More”). VortiQa solutions can handle 4- to 20-Gbit/s transfer rates.

Developers looking at their own software can often turn to companies like Cryptography Research to help tackle problems such as fraud and counterfeiting.

Looking to create a secure corporate environment? Try calling on Green Hills Integrity Global Security. Its nWire Consolidate Client is designed to provide partitioned security on the desktop using INTEGRITY-178B technology (see “Hypervisor Gets Secure”).

The secret to security is getting the right help.


CPU Technology

Cryptography Research


Green Hills Integrity Global Security

TAGS: Defense
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