ST: advanced automotive processors with built-in security

STMicroelectronics announces its latest automotive processors featuring a dedicated, built-in security module. Millions of connected cars are already on the road, and industry analysts predict there will be more than 250 million by 2020. Connected services supported by on-board telematics units, Wi-Fi hotspots, Bluetooth devices – and aftermarket equipment such as on-board diagnostics (OBD) dongles -- enable drivers and passengers to be safer, more productive, socially connected, and better entertained on their journeys. Unfortunately, all this connectivity builds a real surface of attack for hackers.

Automotive groups are quickly addressing security measures to support growth in valuable markets for connected services such as content streaming, location-based assistance, intelligent emergency support, and remote software updates over the air of in-car electronic control units (ECU), while preventing hackers exploiting the connections for their own ends. Experts recommend manufacturers employ a range of techniques, including establishing trust in connected devices and securing all connections, to provide multiple layers of defense throughout the vehicle’s circuitry and software.

ST is helping the industry meet these challenges by combining its expertise in security chips – proven in financial and government applications worldwide -- and automotive semiconductors that meet important industry safety and quality standards. The new Telemaco3P telematics and connectivity processors (STA1385 and its variants) are the first automotive microprocessors to integrate a powerful, dedicated, isolated Hardware Security Module (HSM), which acts like an independent security guard to watch data exchanges and encrypt and authenticate messages. The HSM securely checks the authenticity of received messages and any external devices that try to connect and protects against eavesdropping.

With this HSM on-chip, Telemaco3P devices are ahead of the general-purpose application processors typically found in current connected-car systems, which lack dedicated hardware-based security. ST’s new chips are also extremely robust, with a 105°C maximum temperature rating for use in locations that can become extremely hot, such as on top or directly beneath the roof in a smart antenna.

The new automotive processors are part of a comprehensive ST strategy to offer products with embedded security functions that include stand-alone Secure Elements (ST33) and embedded Flash microcontrollers (SPC5). ST is providing engineering samples of the STA1385 to lead partners now and full production is scheduled for mid-2018.


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