Agile Analog, UltraSoC team on cybersecurity

April 15, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
Agile Analog, UltraSoC team on cybersecurity
UK semiconductor companies Agile Analog and UltraSoC Ltd. have started collaborating on hardware-based cybersecurity technology.

Agile Analog Ltd. (Cambridge, England), a 2017 startup providing analog circuits as intellectual property is contributing analog monitoring IP while UltraSoC provides on-chip analytic processing.

The combination will enable the detection and prevention of 'analog interference' cyber attacks, according to the two companies. These attacks try to circumvent traditional security measures by tampering with underlying systems such as voltage levels or clock signals.

UltraSoC's cybersecurity products monitor the functional behavior of digital circuitry. Agile Analog offers a parallel range of monitors in the analog domain covering voltage, temperature and timing sensors to detect side-channel attacks or anomalous behaviour.

UltraSoC has operated in this area before having previously formed a partnership with Moortec Semiconductor Ltd. (Plymouth, England), which has been a pioneer of process monitor sensors used for frequency and voltage scaling (see Moortec, UltraSoC team up on DVFS process monitors ).

Side-channel attacks, including voltage and clock glitching, brownouts and temperature variations, can be used to gain access to a chip’s internal circuitry.

Gajinder Panesar, CTO at UltraSoC, commented: "Agile Analog has some truly unique technology that’s invaluable in monitoring the underlying analog behaviour of an SoC for potential signs of suspicious or unexpected activity. We believe that partnerships like this are key to enabling a holistic secure embedded cybersecurity architecture with monitoring capable of delivering from fab to field."

Mike Hulse, CTO at Agile Analog, added: "We share UltraSoC’s vision of a holistic embedded cybersecurity ecosystem. Working together will allow us to move a step closer to that vision. Security is one of the key pain points faced by every electronics manufacturer today – particularly in industries such as automotive. The complementary nature of our technologies – UltraSoC offering system-level functional monitoring, and Agile Analog looking at underlying analog behavior – makes our products a natural fit for cybersecurity applications."

UltraSoC embeds transaction-aware hardware monitors into the digital infrastructure of an SoC. These are interconnected via a message-based architecture,


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