June 25, 2009 -- You design a system, and somebody messes it up. The damage is sometimes unintentional. For example, a service provider may install its software on your device and corrupt your original code. On the other hand, hackers and IP (intellectual-property) thieves go out of their way to overwrite, copy, or clone data stored in your systems. Whatever the cause, the resulting damage or theft represents no less of a problem. Itís not surprising that designers need a way to protect system integrity. What may be surprising is that within its bits and blocks, flash memory holds the key to protecting firmware and even hardware designs.
Flash devices offer a number of data-protection measures, each with its own advantages for read, write, or erase protection. The security options add layers of security to slow down would-be hackers and thieves and provide protection from unintentional modifications. Some flash-security features donít even add cost to the final design, and, although the strongest flash-protection features may cost more than standard flash, they are far more affordable than a non-flash-hardware-encryption engine, hidden operations, authenticated operations, or software-encryption applications.
Manufacturers and even devices from the same manufacturer offer different features. Designers must select the right flash device for the final application after considering a number of factors, such as the built-in security options, performance, density, size, and cost.
By Bill Stafford. (Stafford is the director of segment marketing at Numonyx B.V.)
This brief introduction has been excerpted from the original copyrighted article.
View the entire article on the EDN Magazine website.
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