01 Dec 2015

UltraSoC addresses hardware security for IoT

With IoT certain to deliver many billions of connected devices, this is certain to be a hackers’ paradise. To ensure that connected devices are secure it is necessary to ensure that both software and hardware are secure. It is not sufficient to only address the software security for IoT.

UltraSoC has built up toolkit of IP blocks to monitoring all aspects within an SoC: everything from the software to hardware including he many different IP blocks, processors, co-processors, busses, memories and customers own logic.

Conventionally the monitoring application has been used in development for debugging and system optimization. It can also be used for in-life operation once the product has been deployed, re-using the functionality to deliver additional benefits which are included in the new offering which is called Bare Metal Security.

The Bare Metal Security features are implemented in the form of hardware running below the operating system. In this way they are non-intrusive and remain robust even if the system’s conventional security measures are compromised. This adds an entirely new level of protection to the SoC.

The monitors that can detect bugs can also detect hacks and intrusions. For example it is possible to see if an unauthorized processor is attempting to access the key store. It is also possible to detect if an external agent is attempting access decrypted content.

A further example is that it is also possible to detect a pattern of activity that could indicate a denial of service attack.

Bare Metal Security does not replace other security methods but it complements them with a comprehensive additional layer of protection.

The on-chip hardware infrastructure is orthogonal to the main system functionality and software, and hence there is no negative impact on system performance and it is very difficult for an attacker to subvert or tamper with it.

“UltraSoC has proven success in accelerating SoC development,” said Rupert Baines, UltraSoC CEO. “Today we move up a gear, and address another of the semiconductor industry’s most pressing problems – security. Our Bare Metal Security tools complement traditional security mechanisms, adding protection against both malicious attacks and against inadvertent malfunctions.”

For security to work it is necessary to adopt multiple approaches. This systems provides a hardware alarm system which very difficult to turn off and is able to select unwanted activity. In this way it provides an exceedingly useful and beneficial addition to the overall security capability of any SoC in which it is embedded.

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