Microcontroller offers robust security in half the package size

Secure cryptographic operations can be built into industrial, consumer, computing and internet of things (IoT) devices, says Maxim Integrated, at the launch of the MAX32558 DeepCover IC.

The IC can be used to quickly and efficiently build in secure cryptographic operations, integrate key storage and enable active tamper detection, explains Maxim. This newest member of the DeepCover family of secure microcontrollers offers these robust security features while enabling designers to save up to 50 per cent of PCB space compared with the closest competitor, says Maxim.

Smaller size and increased connectivity means there is a growing threat to sensitive information and privacy in devices today. While designers should prevent security breaches at the device level, they often struggle with the trade-off of enhanced security with minimised board space, as well as with design complexity and meeting time-to-market goals, says Maxim.

The MAX32558 DeepCover Arm Cortex-M3 flash-based secure microcontroller integrates several security features into a small package, including secure key storage, a secure bootloader, active tamper detection and secure cryptographic engines. It also supports multiple communications channels such as USB, serial peripheral interface (SPI), universal asynchronous receiver-transmitter (UART) and I2C, making it suitable for a wide range of applications. Maxim says its experience in payment terminal certifications as well as its established support and technology can help streamline the certification process for customers, reducing the process up to six months’ time (rather than the typical 12 to 18 months).

Robust security features include shielding sensitive data by providing the most secure key storage available. The MAX32558 DeepCover IC is compliant with Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 L3&4 certification.

Compared to a secure authenticator, the MAX32558 provides 30x more general-purpose input/output (GPIO) in the same PCB footprint (4.34 x 4.34mm) wafer-level package (WLP), says Maxim. The closest competitor offers a device with similar features but in a 8.0 x 9.0mm ball-grid array 121 (BGA121) package.

In addition to the integrated security features to address point-of-sale Payment Card Industry (PCI) pin transaction security (PTS) requirements, as well as several analogue interfaces, the IC provides 512kbyte of internal flash and 96kbyte of internal SRAM.

Software support includes a real-time operating system (RTOS) integration and code examples in evaluation kit. Code can be easily ported from one device to another as it shares the same API software library as the rest of the product family. A pre-certified Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV)-L1 stack for smartcard interface  is provided together with documentation and code for managing the device lifecycle, such as secure firmware signing and device personalisation.


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