The Democratization of Secure Boot

The secure boot, or the authentication of application software upon every system start up is an essential component for the IoT design. It provides many advantages for protecting the embedded system. For one, it is the basis for securing the integrity of application code, and any firmware update. Importantly, if an attacker manages to insert their software on the system, with a secure boot flow, the device can recover to a known good state. NXP has a mission to propagate this technology to every embedded developer and for every embedded design.

A big step toward the democratization of secure boot — the capabilities integrated into NXP’s Crossover processor family, the i.MX RT. The i.MX RT integrates the advanced Arm® Cortex®-M7 core to provide a highly capable microcontroller built on a processor chassis. With the i.MX RT and its associated software and tools for secure boot, common barriers  for achieving end-to-end security have been removed.

As shown in the architecture diagram, the i.MX RT brings the essential security components together for the embedded designer. Secure development including an authenticated boot flow with the i.MX RT leverages years of experience gained from its applications processor lineage.

 

The ROM firmware enabling the secure boot, as well as the tools used in the development and manufacturing processes, have been commercially used and tested. For more details, have a look at the recently released white paper.

With the technology in place, the secure boot is achievable, but there is always more that can be done to enable  secure boot for every design. That is why across the world, the topic of secure boot has been or will be presented to participants in NXP’s Technology Day events

In some cases secure boot hands-on classes have been held to propagate the understanding of the technology. The resources associated with these classes are posted for the embedded community.

With the white paper, lab guides, and continued focus on the secure boot capabilities, the goal of democratization of secure boot is achievable. Please don’t hesitate to start your security integration with the latest processors and enablement.

Donnie Garcia
Donnie Garcia
Donnie Garcia began his semiconductor career as an applications engineer for 8- and 16-bit MCUs. He has helped define and design low-power MCUs for consumer and industrial applications and currently works as an applications and systems engineer for IoT and Security Solutions. Donnie has authored nearly 20 technical publications (webinars, whitepapers, articles, application notes, engineering bulletins). He spends his weekends enjoying the outdoors around Austin.

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