There is a lot of talk about the Internet of Things (IoT) these days, and there are a lot of microcontrollers (MCUs) available that can address the low-power demands of things like IoT sensor nodes. In the early days, however, there seemed to be a widespread lack of concern about security by end-users, MCU vendors, and equipment manufacturers.
More recently, everyone seems to be becoming more aware of security issues. People are saying things like "Home automation is a great idea, but not if anyone on the planet can take over my home!" Similarly with things like medical equipment -- it's great for doctors to be able to monitor your condition and vary your drug regime remotely as required, but you don’t want a 16-year-old delinquent hacker to have the ability to modify your insulin dose or your pain medication.
All of this explains Microchip Technology's introduction of its PCC24F "GB2" family of MCUs. In the case of security (the red blocks in the image below), these MCUs boast a fully featured hardware crypto engine, a hardware random number generator, and one-time programmable (512-bit) key storage for additional protection:
The random number generator can be used to generate keys for data encryption, decryption, and authentication. The fully-featured, highly-configurable hardware crypto engine offers 128-, 196-, and 256-bit support for all modes of AES, DES, and 3DES (triple DES). Performing these tasks in hardware reduces software overhead, lowers power consumption, and dramatically speeds data throughput.
Microchip has created a short video that summarizes the features and capabilities of the PCC24F "GB2" family.
Starting at $1.30 each in volume, members of the PCC24F "GB2" family support up to 128 KB Flash and 8 KB RAM. They are available in small 28- or 44-pin packages. These devices are ideally suited for a wide range of industrial, medical, and home automation applications, including things like IoT sensor nodes, access control systems, and handheld battery-powered products. Click here for more information.
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting