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ElectronicDesign Article: Security First: Implementing Trust By Design

By August 30, 2018May 12th, 2021No Comments

Earlier this year, two vulnerabilities known as Meltdown and Spectre were independently disclosed by multiple security researchers. The flaws exploited critical vulnerabilities across a wide range of modern processors, including ones from Intel, ARM, and AMD.
Increasingly, chipmakers are looking at the open-source RISC-V architecture, which was unaffected by either vulnerability, as a solution to this new class of flaws. Now special-purpose processors are being built with security in mind.
To avoid vulnerabilities such as Meltdown and Spectre, we need processors that execute sensitive cryptographic and security functions in a secure core that’s physically separated from the primary CPU. With legacy architectures like x86 and ARM subject to known—and likely also unknown–vulnerabilities, basing these security cores on RISC-V can provide a strong root-of-trust for a wide range of applications and verticals.
Secure RISC-V cores that are siloed from the primary processor can securely run sensitive code, processes, and algorithms. These cores also can utilize advanced anti-tamper features to provide the highest level of security and protection against a wide range of sophisticated attacks, including key-injection and fault-injection (glitching) attacks, as well as offering a range of integrated countermeasures against side-channel attacks, including differential power analysis (DPA) .
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