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Overview

The Geon™ Secure Execution Processor is a low-power, 32-bit processor IP core with built-in protection of sensitive code and data. It uses two or more cryptographically separated execution contexts for a high degree of security during code execution and for data storage and transfer to and from the processor. Geon benefits from the extreme code density of the BA2xTM ISA, and employs advanced power management to further lower CPU and memory subsystem power consumption. It can be licensed without volume-based royalty fees.

Benefits

Geon addresses two fundamental security risks of modern SoC designs. First, it protects against breaches of confidentiality and integrity when firmware is stored outside or transferred to the processor. Geon does this by using authenticated encryption: code and data are only decrypted and checked for integrity at fetch time within the processor, and therefore are protected while they reside on the system memory or while being transferred to the processor. Second, Geon protects against breaches of sensitive code and data from compromised software threads. For this it assigns address spaces and processor units to just one of the multiple secure execution contexts, and uses a separate set of encryption keys per execution context for the code and data encryption. In this manner, even a complete breach of a software thread in one execution context fails to compromise the data and code of the other contexts. Geon addresses two fundamental security risks of modern SoC designs. First, it protects against breaches of confidentiality and integrity when firmware is stored outside or transferred to the processor. Geon does this by using authenticated encryption: code and data are only decrypted and checked for integrity at fetch time within the processor, and therefore are protected while they reside on the system memory or while being transferred to the processor. Second, Geon protects against breaches of sensitive code and data from compromised software threads. For this it assigns address spaces and processor units to just one of the multiple secure execution contexts, and uses a separate set of encryption keys per execution context for the code and data encryption. In this manner, even a complete breach of a software thread in one execution context fails to compromise the data and code of the other contexts.

Applications

Designers using Geon get the benefit of robust protection of code and data in a compact, low-power processor core. Geon brings secure execution to embedded and deeply-embedded processors, and is suitable for the design of a wide-range of SoCs, especially wearable electronics and Internet of Things nodes for automotive, industrial, healthcare, and home automation applications.

Features

Built-in protection of code and data in a 32-bit compact, low-power, royalty-free, processor IP core.

Secure Execution

  • Protects sensitive code and data during execution, storage, and transfer to/from the processor
  • Uses two or more cryptographically isolated secure execution contexts
  • Agnostic to cryptographic primitives:
    • uses lowest-overhead Keccak-based (SHA3) crypto engine by default;
    • can alternatively support any cryptographic hash functions and symmetric cipher

Low-Power Operation

  • Extreme Code Density of the BA2x™ ISA minimizes instruction memory area and power consumption
  • Advanced Power Management
    • Dynamic clock gating and power shut-off of unused units
    • Software- and hardware-controlled clock frequency
    • Wake-up on tick timer or external interrupt
  • Small silicon footprint: just 35K gates on 90nm

Processing Efficiency

  • 1.79 DMIPs/MHz
  • More than 450 MHz on 90nm

Optional Processor Units

  • Programmable Vectored Interrupt Controller Unit
  • Timer Unit
  • Debug Unit:MDB and Trace port support
  • ROM patching Unit
  • Floating Point Unit
  • Hardware Multiplier/Divider

Easy Software Development

  • Non-intrusive JTAG CPU and system debug/trace
  • Complex chained watchpoint and breakpoint conditions
  • BeyondStudio™ complete IDE for Windows or Linux (Eclipse)
  • Ported libraries and operating systems

Deliverables

The core is available for ASICs in synthesizable Verilog source code, and includes everything required for successful implementation. The core is delivered with software development tools Windows and Linux, with an Eclipse IDE interface. Additional microcontroller peripherals may be ordered for pre-integration and delivery with the core, individually or in a complete platform. IP Integration Services are also available to help integrate the processor with memory controllers, image compression, or other CAST IP cores.

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