New FPGA enhances security with hardware root-of-trust capabilities

23-05-2019 | Lattice Semiconductor Ltd | Subs & Systems

Lattice Semiconductor has released the MachXO3D FPGA for securing systems against a mixture of threats. Unsecured systems may lead to data and design theft, product cloning and overbuilding, and device tampering or hijacking. With the FPGA, OEMs can ease the implementation of robust, comprehensive and flexible hardware-based security for any system components. The solution can protect, detect and recover itself plus other components from unauthorised firmware access at all stages of a system’s lifecycle, from the manufacturing process to the system’s end of life.

Patrick Moorhead, president and founder of Moor Insights and Strategy, said, “Compromised firmware is particularly insidious as it not only leaves user data vulnerable but can also make systems permanently inoperable, disrupting the user experience and exposing OEMs to liability. FPGAs provide a compelling hardware platform choice for securing system firmware as they’re able to perform multiple functions in parallel, making them much faster at identifying and responding to unauthorised firmware when detected.”

When used to perform system control functions, the FPGA devices are typically the 'first-on/last-off' component on circuit boards. By integrating security and system control functions, the solution becomes the first link in a chain of trust that defends entire systems.

“System developers commonly take advantage of FPGA flexibility to enhance system functions after deployment,” said Gordon Hands, director of Product Marketing, Lattice Semiconductor. “With MachXO3D, we took care to retain that flexibility while adding a secure configuration block to deliver the industry’s first control-oriented FPGA compliant with NIST’s Platform Firmware Resilience specification.”

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