Today, at TechCon 2015, ARM has launched its ARMv8-M architecture. This architecture brings ARM TrustZone technology to the hardware layer. The goal is to ensure developers have fast and efficient protection for any embedded or Internet of Things (IoT) device employing ARMv8-M processors. ARM TrustZone helps to secure data, firmware, and peripherals by creating separate trusted and non-trusted states.
Mike Muller, chief technology officer at ARM, pointed out to ARM TechCon attendees that while security is critical, "small embedded devices often have limited protection or are secured with software-managed security that requires developers to have significant technical expertise". Moving the TrustZone protection into hardware makes it much easier to implement and more efficient, says ARM.
ARM will be making its protection more rigorous with TrustZone CryptoCell. This feature is an additional hardware security layer that can isolate particularly sensitive or high-value data. Cambridge-based ARM is determined to be proactive in minimising any opportunity for cybersecurity vulnerabilities in embedded and IoT systems. With this in mind, it has partnered with Symantec to provide 'secure-by-design' solutions for TrustZone on ARMv8-M based devices. Additionally the ARM AMBA 5 AHB5 (interconnect standard) specification has been launched to extend the TrustZone security foundation from the processor to the entire system for embedded designs.
The ARMv8-M architecture is said to make it easy for developers to write code which works on the full range of ARM processors, from the most energy efficient to the fastest and most powerful in its arsenal. In addition, ARM has made it easier to integrate Cortex-M and its top-performing Cortex-A processors in SoCs.
Rounding off today's announcement of the new architecture, ARM was happy to share that it would be providing early access to software-development tools, software abstraction layers, and architecture reference simulation models. Ecosystem partners will be able to develop a TrustZone-enabled embedded or IoT application before the first devices using ARMv8-M arrive. These early-access tools include: ARM Keil MDK: including Compiler, Debugger and IDE for Cortex-M, ARM CMSIS to utilize the TrustZone security extensions of the ARMv8-M architecture, and ARMv8-M Fast Models architecture reference simulation models. Last but not least, ARM is publishing resources for ARMv8-M architecture training online to early adopters.