App note: Protect Your Designs from malware with the DeepCover MAXQ1050 secure microcontroller

Posted on Saturday, August 10th, 2013 in app notes by DP


Here’s an app note from Maxim describing how to protect your embedded systems from Malware with DeepCover MAXQ1050 Secure Microcontroller:

Malware injection has become a critical threat to embedded systems. Implementing an asymmetric cryptography-based secure boot is the best protection against this class of attacks. This application note describes the key principles of such a secure boot and explains how to implement it with the DeepCover® MAXQ1050 secure microcontroller.

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4 Responses to “App note: Protect Your Designs from malware with the DeepCover MAXQ1050 secure microcontroller”

  1. matseng says:

    Seriously guys?!? Have you a feed from my Evernote? I looked at the Deepcover chips just two days ago. Got a bit p*ssed that a NDA is required to get the full datasheet. Security by obscurity?

    • Drone says:

      Hi matseng,

      You said, “Security by obscurity?” – Brilliant. I must remember to borrow that one :-)


      I bounced-off this MAXQ1050 part before due to NDA. It was mentioned in a in a “Smart Meter” Press Release a couple of years ago.

      There are reasons why chip manufacturers do this Non-Disclosure-Agreement (NDA) stuff:

      1. The part is really intended for large volume end-users due to part-specific and end user specific programming during manufacture with the likes of encryption key(s).

      2. Out of fear of law suits – an attempt to prevent and/or limit disclosure of Intellectual Property (IP) via open information about how to apply the device.

      Competiters and even Patent Trolls will try to reverse engineer “drivers” for the part or IP and form a legal case.

      We see this more-and-more with the likes of video graphics IP (GPU’s). Examples are Intel and ARM SoC devices these days, many used in “tablets” and “smart-phones”. Even recent versions of Intel’s Atom suffer from poor performance with the likes of Linux due to the lack of driver information. The Raspberry Pi suffers from this effect still.

      Much of this (but not always), is in my opinion due to a broken U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) system, and the greedy and corrupt Trial Lawyers of America (TLA) that feed on the broken USPTO system.

      If we want to complain to Maxim about this, we can try. But I don’t think Maxim gives a rat’s-ass about this. There is an Email address on Maxim’s “Contact Us” link if you want to send them your opinion.

      • Drone says:

        Correction: ARM doesn’t make “devices” they “license” IP. to manufacturers who make devices and may or may not choose to use graphics IP tied to ARM. But the problem still exists either way.

  2. xradionut says:

    I worked for Dallas Semiconductor in the ’90s before they were acquired by Maxim. This is just the logic product evolution of all the secure key fobs, buttons, and microcontroller products that DS used to make. Unless you are ordering large volumes for specific uses, it’s unlikely that you will need to worry about using these chips. (But the techologies not rocket science…)

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