COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. Freescale Semiconductor Inc. will launch a spinoff of its MSC8144 StarCore DSP today (Feb. 28) that has a code-protection mechanism on-chip. The feature will help OEMs protect system-level code in such applications as Internet Protocol multimedia subsystems and basestations, says the company. The key for the encryption is distributed throughout logic blocks on the chip, so that code cannot be accessed by any type of I/O, either serial ports such as RapidIO and PCI Express, or scan pads using JTAG.
The company has developed a unique way of protecting code stored in nonvolatile memory, and was able to coordinate the DSP design with other layers of security, said Jeff Timbs, marketing director for the network systems division at Freescale. One version, the MSC8144E, offers the standard security engine the company used in PowerQuicc and other designs, which supports DES, Triple-DES, Kasumi, AES, MD-5 and other codes. The MSC8144EC embeds both the security engine and the new code-protection feature.
The devices are based on the four-core MSC8144, which uses four SC3400 StarCore cores. The new DSP processors are pin-compatible with the MSC8144, which is in production now. The two security versions will sample in the second quarter.