Microchip’s New 32-bit MCUs Include Built-In Hardware Security Module

May 02, 2024 by Aaron Carman

New IoT security legislation is coming down the pipe. Microchip has released a mixed-range family of MCUs that keep data security and functional safety at the forefront.

Microchip has announced a new family of PIC microcontrollers with integrated hardware security features. Because of new legislation, such as the UK Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (Product Security) regime, IoT designers must meet stringent security requirements before a product can hit the market. Microchip claims its new family of MCUs could help speed up the qualification process.


Microchip’s PIC32CK family of microcontrollers

Microchip’s PIC32CK family of microcontrollers comes equipped with hardware security built-in, allowing designers to meet emerging security standards more easily. Image used courtesy of Microchip

In addition to the security features, Microchip has also included several other peripherals that make the new MCU family a good fit for various embedded applications, including industrial, medical, and consumer IoT.


Embedded Hardware Security

The PIC32CK family includes two versions: the SG and GC versions. While the GC version packs all the same computational and peripheral offerings as the SG version, the SG series includes Microchip’s hardware security module (HSM) to ensure robust security in IoT applications.


Developers must consider security and functional safety for IoT designs

Developers must consider security and functional safety for IoT designs. Image used courtesy of IoTAC

This HSM gives designers an advantage when developing systems that must comply with rigorous security standards. If we take the UK Product Security regime as an example, designers can use the secure updates feature in the PIC32CK SG series to meet the legislation's requirements. The improved security features also allow designers to future-proof their designs, pushing back the eventual obsolescence of the device.

The PIC32CK SG series includes secure root of trust and certificate authority, key management, secure boot and update, and cryptographic acceleration. The SG series also includes Arm’s TrustZone secure partitioning, allowing designers to better preserve their IP and ensure that code is executed in a trusted environment.


Mixed-Range MCUs to Perform at Various Levels

The PIC32CK family (datasheet linked) uses a 120-MHz Arm Cortex-M33 core with included FPU/DPU. This processor is supported by up to 2 MB dual-panel Flash and 512 KB SRAM.

When interfacing with the world, the MCU includes up to 32 peripheral touch channels and a 12-bit ADC with a 3 Msps sampling rate. In addition, support for many different communication protocols is built-in, including 10/100 Ethernet, CAN FD, USB 2.0, SPI, I2C, and USART, to name a few.


The PIC32CK block diagram

The PIC32CK block diagram highlights the number of features included in the MCU family, allowing designers to target a bevy of applications requiring advanced security features. Image used courtesy of Microchip

In addition to the IoT, Microchip has targeted the latest secure MCUs for home appliances, medical devices, and industrial designs. The PIC32CK family is now available alongside accompanying development boards. Designers can make use of Microchip’s MPLAB Harmony and Trust Platform Design Suite when developing with the MCUs.