Securing IoT Endpoints with the SAM L11 Microcontroller

October 4, 2018 Microchip Technology Inc.

With the booming growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), implementing security in endpoints is sometimes an afterthought for many designers. However, the increased frequency of security breaches brings a heightened risk of exposing Intellectual Property (IP) and sensitive information to hackers and other malicious attackers. While incorporating robust security early in the design cycle is essential, developers of battery-powered IoT endpoints also need to find ways to successfully reduce power consumption.

Providing an innovative approach to these design challenges, the new SAM L10 and SAM L11 families of 32-bit Arm Cortex-M23 based microcontrollers (MCUs) integrate a wide variety of peripherals, including security features, while offering the industry’s lowest power consumption. Both MCU families also feature capacitive touch capability to enable designers to add attractive and reliable touch interfaces to their products.

Robust Security

The SAM L11 family offers integrated hardware security, featuring Arm TrustZone for Armv8-M, a programmable environment that provides hardware isolation between certified libraries, IP and application code. This solution enables robust security by including chip-level tamper resistance, secure boot and secure key storage that, when combined with TrustZone technology, is designed to shield your IoT application from both physical and remote attacks.

In addition to TrustZone technology, the SAM L11 security features include an on-board cryptographic module supporting Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), Galois Counter Mode (GCM) and Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA). The secure boot and secure key storage with tamper detection capabilities establish a hardware root of trust. The SAM L11 also offers a secure bootloader for secure firmware upgrades. Microchip has partnered with Trustonic, a member of Microchip’s Security Design Partner Program, to offer a comprehensive security solution framework that simplifies implementation of security and enables you to introduce end products faster. Microchip has also partnered with Secure Thingz and Data I/O Corporation to offer secure provisioning services for SAM L11 customers who have a proven security framework.

Microchip has created a video to describe how the SAM L11’s security features, example use cases and other resources make it easy to implement security in your design. A second video provides you with an overview of how the SAM L11 Trusted Execution Environment can be used to implement a secure temperature sensor application while counteracting malware and physical attacks.

Superior Capacitive Touch

Adding an exceptional touch-based user interface to your design is easy with the SAM L10 and SAM L11. Both MCU families feature an enhanced Peripheral Touch Controller (PTC) offering best-in-class water tolerance and high noise immunity. This PTC is four times faster than the previous generation and provides highly responsive and accurate touch sensing. The PTC enables you to implement a low-power touch interface that provides an impressively smooth and efficient user experience, even in the presence of moisture and noise. The PTC makes the SAM L10 and SAM L11 well suited for use in a myriad of automotive, appliance, medical and consumer Human Machine Interface (HMI) applications.

Development Support

To accelerate your development using these new MCUs, the SAM L10 Xplained Pro Evaluation Kit (DM320204) and SAM L11 Xplained Pro Evaluation Kit (DM320205) offer a range of features, including a microBUSTM socket for adding extra functionality using MikroElektronika click boardsTM. Security, low-power and touch demos are also available to help you get started with your project.

All SAM L10/L11 MCUs are supported by Atmel Studio 7 Integrated Development Environment (IDE), IAR Embedded Workbench and Arm Keil MDK, as well as Atmel START, a free online tool to configure peripherals and software that accelerates your development. Atmel START also supports TrustZone technology to configure and deploy secure applications. A power debugger and data analyzer tool are available to monitor and analyze power consumption in real time and fine tune the consumption numbers on the fly to meet application needs. Microchip’s QTouch Modular Library, 2D Touch Surface Library and QTouch Configurator are also available to simplify touch development.

Don’t let security be an afterthought in your next IoT design. The SAM L10 and SAM L11 devices are available in a variety of pin counts and package options to meet your design’s requirements, and they can be ordered from microchipDIRECT.

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