Anticipating the need for secure communications for the next level of device connectivity Microchip have integrated a complete hardware crypto engine into their PIC24F family of microcontrollers. Computers normally use software routines to carry out data encryption number crunching but for low power microcontrollers this method will generally use up too much of the processor’s resources and be too slow.
Microchip have integrated several security features into the PIC24F family of microcontrollers (identified by their ‘GB2’ suffix) to protect embedded data. The fully featured hardware crypto engine supports the AES, DES and 3DES standards to reduce software overheads, lower power consumption and enable faster throughput. A Random Number Generator is also implemented which can be used to create random keys for data encryption, decryption and authentication to provide a high level of security. For additional protection the One-Time-Programmable (OTP) key storage prevents the encryption key from being read or overwritten.
These security features increase the integrity of embedded data without sacrificing power consumption. With XLP technology, the “GB2” family achieves 180 µA/MHz Run currents and 18 nA sleep currents for long battery life in portable applications.