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Protect IoT Embedded Designs with Security ICs

Protect IoT Embedded Designs with Security ICs

Protect IoT Embedded Designs with Security ICs. In this article, we discuss some of the key security threats to consider when designing for IoT, critical security features. Also how protecting these designs has become easier with advances. set in the security IC.

You work hard to develop the next generation of your smart, connected device. It improves on the capabilities of its predecessor while adding several new features. Then you get the latest header on the hacked IoT device. Is it too late to defend your design?

It’s never too late to conceive safely and that’s more important than ever. IoT brings great convenience to the way we live, work, and play. But if left unprotected, smart devices can provide an access point to larger networks and sensitive data.

Copiers are detrimental to customers

Some IoT design flaws get more attention than others. Counterfeiting and duplication are common threats, resulting in loss of revenue for OEMs and often quality problems affecting customers. Having genuine or genuine parts ensures that those parts will function as intended. Also helps to ensure that viruses will not be introduced into the environment. For example, in an auto or utility plant, tampered-with equipment can cause problems that result in costly downtime, damage, or even harm to customers.

Then there are potentially deadly attacks. For example, consider a WiFi-enabled pacemaker. Last year, the US Department of Homeland Security issued a warning that hackers could easily gain access to a brand of implantable defibrillators. According to the suite, an attacker with short-range access to the product in question could. When the product’s radio is turned on, input, replay, modify, and/or intercept data in the telemetry communication. Another concern for medical devices is product refurbishment. Although allowed by the US Food and Drug Administration, refurbishing a medical device can cause problems. The biggest threat is limited-use devices. While the refurbishment process can restore the device to like-new condition, it can also invalidate the device’s restricted usability attributes.

Security ICs with advanced encryption can protect IoT sensor nodes in power plants and similar applications from security threats. Cryptography without being an expert.

Protecting IoT designs from threats requires:

  • Secure communication and device authenticity
  • Strong key management to protect and encrypt sensitive data
  • Secure boot for firmware validation and protection against malware attacks
  • Feature control so you can safely enable and disable various factory options

Safety ICs continue to provide an advanced level of protection for existing and new integrated designs. And one of the benefits of designing with these devices is that you can take advantage of the powerful features of cryptocurrencies without having to be a crypto expert. The software-based approach would require significantly more development effort and expose vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit. Let’s take a closer look at the key features of security ICs that you want to have to keep your IoT designs secure. 

Non-replicable physical function (PUF) technology

If you want stronger protection against invasive attacks and reverse engineering, PUF technology is here to help. A PUF circuit relies on the natural random analog properties of basic MOSFET devices to generate cryptographic keys. Since the key is generated only when needed and is not stored anywhere on the chip. The attacker has nothing to steal. If an attacker attempts to probe or observe PUF activity. This activity will change the basic characteristics of the circuit, preventing the attacker from discovering the secret key.

PUF is like a unique fingerprint, making it invaluable for implementing private and private keys used by security ICs. For example, a secret key derived from the PUF is used to encrypt all information stored in the EEPROM memory of the secure integrated circuit. A security attack accessing the contents of the EEPROM would be permanently thwarted because the contents are encrypted and cannot extract the PUF key required for decryption.

Asymmetric and Symmetrical Algorithms

Encryption algorithms that lock or unlock cryptographic functions such as authentication, authorization, and encryption. There are two types of algorithms:
symmetrical and asymmetrical. Symmetric algorithms involve private keys between the sender and the receiver. Their shared key is securely stored and never shared with anyone else. Senders and receivers authenticate data with this public key, giving them confidence that the source of the information is trustworthy. The asymmetric algorithm uses one key that is stored privately and a second that is stored publicly. Data signed with the private key can only be verified with the associated public key.

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

The AES algorithm is an ideal fixed-width symmetric algorithm for block ciphers. It shuffles and replaces the input data based on the input key’s value in a reverse manner, resulting in ciphertext (encrypted or encrypted information). First, the input message is padded to ensure that it will fit in 128-bit block “n” numbers. Each 128-bit block is fed into the encryption algorithm with an encryption key.

The algorithm then performs a number of cycles that shuffle the bits of the input block depending on the number of bits in the encryption key. Obfuscation involves shuffling bits of data, where parts of the data are replaced with values ​​from the lookup table, and XOR operations are performed to flip bits from 0 to 1 based on the values. bit value in a set of circular keys generated from the input encryption. key. To decrypt the original input block data, the AES decryption function reverses the operations of the encryption function using the same encryption key.

Digital signatures

A standard part of cryptography, digital signatures give recipients a reason to believe that a message was created by a known sender and has not been altered in transit. In other words, the ability to sign data verifies that the device and the data are authentic. Both symmetric and asymmetric algorithms are used to generate digital signatures.

Use SHA and ECDSA for secure boot

A secure hashing algorithm (e.g. SHA-2 or SHA-3) uses a hashing technique that takes data of different sizes and condenses it into a fixed-size bit string output. For example, with SHA-256, the hash output is 256 bits long. The Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) enables secure communication by creating a digital signature for input messages based on a private key. The public key is mathematically related to the private key and is provided and used by others to verify the authenticity of the communicator. 


Together, SHA-256 and ECDSA provide features that enable the secure boot of a host processor as follows. Within the OEM development environment, an SHA-256 hash is computed over the firmware file that is ultimately executed by a microcontroller. This hash value is then ECDSA-signed with a private key that resides and is safeguarded within the confines of the development environment.

The firmware and ECDSA signature are then stored in the end application, for example in flash memory. Also, in the end, application, the microcontroller stores the ECDSA public key to verify that the firmware is authentic and unmodified before execution, i.e., a secure boot process. To perform this verification the microcontroller would compute the SHA-256 hash over the stored firmware and then use this hash value and the stored public key to perform a verification operation on the ECDSA signature. If the verification passes, the micro can trust and execute the firmware.

Advanced security ICs

Advanced security ICs are now designed with these security features built-in. A power-efficient cryptographic coprocessor provides a good option for existing as well as new embedded designs. One of the benefits is that the coprocessor can offload the host (non-secure) microprocessor from managing complex cryptography and secure key storage. By consuming little power, these devices work well for battery-powered IoT designs.

An example of such a cryptographic coprocessor is the low-power DS28S60, which features PUF technology, a high-speed 20MHz SPI interface for fast throughput of security operations, SHA-256 based digital signature and ECDSA-P256 signature and verification for secure boot, and built-in key exchange for end-to-end encryption.


As embedded designs, including battery-powered IoT sensor nodes, become more pervasive in our everyday lives, it’s essential to ensure that they’re protected against security threats. Today’s security ICs are integrated with an array of cryptographic functions that make it easier to protect these designs without having to be a cryptography expert 바카라사이트.