Real Time Logic Extends M2M Device Security and Encryption to NXP’s ARM Cortex-M MCU

Fast, compact SharkSSL secures real-time, connected LPC1000-based devices


Monarch Beach, CA ― June 27, 2012 ― Real Time Logic, device web server and security specialist, extends SharkSSL, a compact, fast cryptographic engine delivering high-performance security, to the LPC1000, an NXP ARM Cortex-M-based microcontroller. Tailored for machine-to-machine (M2M), Internet-connected devices, the LPC1000 is ideal for protecting sensor, industrial, and infrastructure networks from attack.

With the advent of M2M communications, communication security has become critical for the embedded systems that underpin utility grids, transportation systems, industrial networks, and military and aerospace applications. Such networks involve constant communication as sensor or device nodes receive instructions from back-end systems or send data back. With each communication exchange, intruders gain a new opportunity to compromise system integrity, exposing individuals, businesses and nations to cyber-attack. Secure communications are critical to ensuring that messages and data are seen only by the intended parties.

SharkSSL delivers embedded security and embedded encryption tailored for devices. Implementing SSL 3.0, TSL 1.0, and TLS 1.1 as well as encryption algorithms AES, DES, 3DES, ARC4, SHA1, MD5, RSA, and DH, the SharkSSL crypto software library can be optimized for processors with hardware encryption engines, partial support, or with no hardware encryption support, such as the ARM Cortex-M. SharkSSL’s 20-kB footprint not only weighs in 50 times smaller than OpenSSL, but also represents the smallest SSL/TLS stack available for embedded security.

"The speed and compact size of SharkSSL delivers the high-performance needed for our customers’ demanding real-time applications," confirmed Gene Carter, International Product Manager, Business Line Microcontrollers, NXP Semiconductors. "We are pleased to work with Real Time Logic and know that our close working relationship assures early SSL and encryption support as new devices become available."
"Controllers as power efficient as the LPC1000 demand embedded security engineered to be fast and compact to preserve as much system memory as possible for the application," noted Wilfred Nilsen, CEO, Real Time Logic. "Compact and highly efficient, SharkSSL quickly secures and encrypts all embedded device communication whether on an industrial or sensor network to ensure that communication is secure, data stays in the right hands and no unauthorized access to the network is gained."

Designed to secure communication and management of embedded devices and dedicated M2M applications, SharkSSL is transport agnostic. While most SSL stacks are tightly coupled to the TCP transport protocol, SharkSSL can be used with any other transport protocol, whether TCP or a more lightweight—and even proprietary—stack that an embedded system or sensor network may employ, such as Zigbee, or for common applications, such as email or web encryption, file transfer, voice over IP and wireless security authentication.

High-Performance embedded SSL/TLS stack

The SharkSSL library has been optimized for high performance and efficiency in C code, achieving AES encryption at 750 kB/s and RSA encryption in as little as 18 ms on a Cortex-M3-based core running at 50 MHz. As well, the SharkSSL stack has been designed to be easily augmented using selective in-line assembly code—a feature most useful for the RSA and Diffie-Hellman key-exchange protocols, which have a larger code base.

Hardware savvy, the SharkSSL library can be readily adapted to take advantage of hardware encryption accelerators. SharkSSL implementations using hardware acceleration have demonstrated performance improvements of up to 50 times for Triple-DES encryption as compared to unaccelerated performance.

Broad support for ARM and other processors

Because it is available as source code, SharkSSL code can be implemented on any processor off the shelf. The SharkSSL library has been successfully deployed on ARM, Freescale, and PowerPC-based FPGA architectures. It can also take advantage of the encryption acceleration in any Freescale microcontroller; other accelerators can be accommodated upon request.

Out-of-the-box operating system (OS) support includes INTEGRITY™, MQX™, SMX™, ThreadX™, VxWorks™, EBSnet™, rtplatform, uCLinux™, Linux and Windows™; it can also be used in bare-metal (no OS) configurations. Multi-threading is available for added performance when using an OS that supports multi-threading.

Royalty-free SSL licensing

SharkSSL comes with full source code and royalty-free licenses starting at $8,000.


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