MCUs enhance connected-car security -

MCUs enhance connected-car security

LONDON — Both Infineon and STMicroelectronics have added capability to enable secure microcontrollers and secure over-the-air (OTA) updates for connected cars.

Infineon Technologies has developed a hardware-based security module that protects communications between connected cars and car manufacturers with its new OPTIGA TPM 2.0, a trusted platform module (TPM) in which manufacturers can incorporate sensitive security keys for assigning access rights, authentication, and data encryption in the car in a protected way.

Meanwhile, STMicroelectronics has launched a new flagship SPC58 H line of Chorus automotive MCUs, designed to protect connected-car functionalities and allow OTA updates to be applied safely with its hardware security module (HSM) capable of asymmetric cryptography and fully EVITA-compliant for attack prevention, detection, and containment techniques.

Infineon adds TPM security

With the new OPTIGA TPM 2.0 and its AURIX family of microcontrollers, Infineon provides a portfolio of application-specific security solutions for the automotive industry. The OPTIGA TPM 2.0 SLI 9670 from Infineon is a plug-and-play solution especially suited for use in a central gateway, the telematics unit, or the infotainment system of the vehicle. It can also be updated so that the level of security can be kept up to date throughout the vehicle’s service life. The company says that a number of car manufacturers have already designed in its security module.

Martin Brunner, expert for automotive security at Infineon, said that with the car becoming a computer on wheels, the connected car can benefit from the experience of the IT industry. “In the complex interplay between software, network, and cloud, security hardware creates the solid foundation for secured communication,” he said. The OPTIGA TPM can be easily integrated and substantially increase cybersecurity — from production to recycling of connected cars.

In connected cars, huge volumes of data are exchanged — with cars sending real-time traffic information to the cloud or receiving updates from the manufacturer “over the air,” for example, to update software quickly and in a cost-effective manner. Senders and recipients of that data, whether car makers or individual components in the car, require cryptographic security keys to authenticate themselves. These critical keys are particularly protected against logical and physical attacks in the OPTIGA TPM as if they were in a safe.

Incorporating the first or initial key into the vehicle is a particularly sensitive moment for car makers. With the TPM, this step can be carried out in a certified production environment. After that, the keys are protected against unauthorized access; there is no need for further special security precautions throughout the various stages of the — often globally distributed — value chain. The TPM likewise generates, stores, and administers further security keys for communication within the vehicle. It is also used to detect faulty or manipulated software and components in the vehicle and initiate troubleshooting by the manufacturer in such a case.

Whereas a vehicle has an average service life time of 12 to 15 years, security features and algorithms keep on being developed and enhanced on a continuous basis. The TPM’s firmware can be updated by remote access so that the security it offers can be kept up to date — including the cryptographic mechanisms (cryptoagility).

The SLI 9670 consists of an attack-resistant security chip and high-performance firmware developed in accordance with the latest security standard. The firmware enables immediate use of security features, such as encryption, decryption, signing, and verification. The TPM can be integrated quickly and easily in the system with the open-source software stack (TSS stack) for the host processor, which is also provided by Infineon. It has an SPI interface, an extended temperature range from –40°C to 105°C, and advanced encryption algorithms RSA-2048, ECC-256, and SHA-256.

The new TPM complies with the internationally acknowledged Trusted Computing Group TPM 2.0 standard, is certified for security according to Common Criteria, and is qualified in accordance with the automotive standard AEC-Q100. It is available now and manufactured in security-certified production facilities of Infineon Germany and the Philippines.

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