External NOR Flash memory is first with hardware root-of-trust - Embedded.com

External NOR Flash memory is first with hardware root-of-trust

Infineon Technologies has announced what it claims is the first NOR Flash memory which serves as a hardware root-of-trust and provides other security and functional safety functions in a single external device for automotive, industrial, and communications markets.

The proliferation of connected systems is driving the need for ever greater system security. As next generation advanced systems on chip (SoCs) migrate to process nodes down to 28nm and growing code size and complexity requires more eFlash and eSRAM, viable automotive qualified embedded non-volatile memory technologies are challenged by cost and lack of scalability. Hence as flash moves outside of the host processor, it has grown increasingly important to find ways to secure embedded systems. Infineon’s approach to secure the flash memory itself when it can no longer be embedded within the MCU offers design engineers more versatility.

Typical threats to embedded systems (Image: Infineon Technologies)

The acquisition of Cypress Semiconductor Corporation has enabled Infineon Technologies to enhance its expertise in memory solutions, and as a result it has introduced Semper Secure as an addition to its Semper NOR Flash memory platform. Based on Semper NOR Flash’s field-proven and robust smart memory architecture, Semper Secure NOR Flash is the first memory solution to combine security and functional safety in a single NOR flash device to deliver the security, safety, and reliability required for the most advanced connected automotive, industrial, and communications systems.

Semper Secure NOR Flash provides a trusted solution to meet demanding requirements and protects critical system information. Having a secured flash solution is especially important when the NOR Flash is placed outside of a processor, making it vulnerable to a variety of attacks. Infineon said its Semper Secure is the only NOR Flash solution that serves as a hardware root-of-trust to provide end-to-end protection. Additionally, the Semper Solution development kit enables easy system integration to accelerate time-to-market and reduce total cost-of-ownership.

Semper Secure NOR Flash memory architecture (Image: Infineon Technologies)

Having a secured connected system is a top priority for customers focused on protecting information and maintaining system integrity. As systems increasingly rely on external NOR Flash to protect code and data in connected systems, the need for added advanced cryptographic security in memory is growing. Infineon said its’ Semper Secure NOR Flash architecture adds to its functionally safe Semper products a secure subsystem to enable end-to-end persistent protection and efficiently protect a system from being compromised.

The Semper Secure NOR Flash memory in an ADAS system (Image: Infineon Technologies)

The Semper Secure NOR Flash family includes AEC-Q100 automotive-qualified devices with an extended temperature range of -40 °C to +125 °C, supports 1.8-V and 3.0-V operating ranges, and is available in densities of 128 Mb, 256 Mb and 512 Mb. Semper Secure NOR Flash is designed and fully compliant to the ISO 26262 standard and is ASIL-B compliant and ready to be used in systems up to ASIL-D. The implemented EnduraFlex architecture simplifies system design by enabling optimization for high endurance or long data retention partitions. The devices are offered with quad serial peripheral interface (SPI), Octal SPI and HyperBus interfaces. The Octal and HyperBus interface devices are compliant with the JEDEC eXpanded SPI (xSPI) standard for high-speed x8 serial NOR Flash and offer a read bandwidth of up to 400 MBps.

Infineon’s 256 Mb Semper Secure NOR Flash devices are sampling to lead customers now, with volume production expected during the second quarter of 2021.

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