Express Logic’s X-Ware Secure Platform™ Provides Secure Solution for Information- and Safety-Sensitive IoT Devices

Embedded World, Nürnberg, Germany, February 23, 2016 — Express Logic, Inc., provider of the market-leading pre-certified, high-performance ThreadX® real-time operating system (RTOS), today announced its X-Ware Secure Platform™ for ARM Cortex®-M processors. The X-Ware Secure Platform delivers a fully integrated set of Express Logic’s X-Ware components (ThreadX, NetX™, USBX™, FileX®, GUIX™, and TraceX®) for use with future ARMv8-M–based Cortex-M processors with TrustZone and with existing ARMv6-M– and ARMv7-M–based Cortex-M processors with MPU support.

Solution Helps Embedded Developers Meet Growing Security Challenges

To help embedded developers deliver secure IoT devices, Express Logic’s X-Ware Secure Platform provides a comprehensive and secure foundation for Cortex-M processor–based products. The X-Ware Secure Platform provides an infrastructure for software partitioning. By skillfully using a system’s MMU or MPU, ThreadX can protect trusted code from errors that might occur within other code while enabling the trusted code to interact with the entire system.

Express Logic’s X-Ware Secure Platform uses the Cortex-M’s MPU to assign memory range (partition) boundaries to non-trusted code, preventing such code from accessing any code or data outside of its own partition. This prevents any errors that might be present in that code from impacting the non-trusted code itself and from impacting trusted code or the RTOS. In this manner, designated code does not have full access to the entire address space, only to code and data within its own range of addresses as defined by the MPU boundary registers. 

As well, in order to permit this “managed code” to access RTOS services and exchange information with code in trusted regions, an efficient “remote access” mechanism is employed by X-Ware Secure Platform. This mechanism allows RTOS services to be performed for the requesting code while preventing the requesting code from having direct access to the RTOS or other trusted data and code regions. Developers are thereby able to create secure spaces protected from software infiltration. Devices that incorporate X-Ware Secure Platform offer an enhanced level of security protection for connected IoT devices.

The ARMv8-M architecture follows a similar protection process, except that the ARMv8-M is much more efficient, as it provides a hardware implementation of all features necessary to achieve the benefits of X-Ware Secure Platform. ARMv8-M enables the RTOS to assign partition boundaries to multiple code regions, enabling non-trusted code to be “confined” to those regions and thereby prevented from accessing trusted regions or the RTOS itself. Like the earlier Cortex-M MPU solution, ARMv8-M provides a remote access capability, enabling “managed code” to request services from the RTOS while disabling the code from accessing trusted regions. With ARMv8-M, this approach and mechanism is fully implemented in hardware, offering high efficiency and easy setup.

IoT devices almost always require an RTOS and network connectivity. In addition, many IoT devices also require a graphical user interface and file system, as well as USB and other middleware components. As device vendors open up their APIs to share data and allow more interoperability with other products and single-point devices and systems, information security and protection become significant issues. 

Security and Time-to-Market Benefits for Developers of ARM-Based Devices

“Next-generation embedded IoT products demand extensive security and efficiency,” said Richard York, Vice President, Embedded Marketing, ARM. “By using ARM’s TrustZone technology for future ARM Cortex-M processors in the X-Ware Secure Platform, Express Logic furthers its commitment to providing embedded IoT developers with both efficient security and time-to-market advantages.”

“Designed to work on Cortex-M processors, TrustZone for ARMv8-M and ThreadX, with over 5.4 billion deployments, are perfect for small embedded devices,” said William E. Lamie, President, Express Logic “The market-leading ARM Cortex-M processors, coupled with our X-Ware Secure Platform, give embedded developers the technology they need to build secure devices without compromising time-to-market.”

Price and Availability

X-Ware Secure Platform based on ThreadX Modules with Cortex-M MPU support is available today. X-Ware Secure Platform with TrustZone support will be available when Cortex-M-based devices using the ARMv8-M architecture are available. X-Ware Secure Platform, which includes full source code, is licensed at prices starting at $20,000 with no per-unit royalties. Pre-license evaluation is easy and free. Full-source evaluation licenses are also available free of charge from Express Logic. Please contact Express Logic for further information.