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Freescale MPC564x Microcontrollers Add Security to Automotive Computers

Mar 1 2011, 11:23am CST | by , in News | Cars & Vehicles

Freescale MPC564x Microcontrollers Add Security to Automotive Computers
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Will these block all access to the cars computer?

When you start talking about adding security and encryption to computer systems, generally I see that as a good thing. The more secure computer systems are in all sorts of products and industries, the better off we all are. Freescale has a new microcontroller line that is for use in automotive electric systems and the line is called the Freescale PMC564x.

The range includes the first use of a cryptographic services engine (CSE) in the automotive market. That means that the chip enables secure and trusted communications between electronic components. Cryptography is used to encode and decode information between the vehicle components. Freescale says that the CSE will prevent nefarious types from manipulating mileage and it would allow the car to immobilize itself if a thief tries to steal the vehicle without using the key.

“The security of a car’s electronic systems is critical to the operation of the vehicle and the safety of its occupants,” said Ray Cornyn, director of Freescale’s Automotive MCU business. “Our Qorivva MPC56xx family offers solutions at both ends of the performance spectrum and provides the peace of mind that comes with having advanced security features without sacrificing power or cost.”

I read this and hear the works secure and trusted and it makes me wonder if these chips will also prevent enthusiasts that want to have their car computer tuned for more performance from being able to do so. I would assume that to be the case. In the old days of performance cars tuning meant you picked the right jets for your carburetor and other things. In the world of modern performance, all of the aspects of the engines operation from timing to fuel is controlled by the computer.

If all the access to the car computer is encrypted and inaccessible, the days of programming vehicles to meet the needs and desires of the owner will be gone with any vehicle that uses this processor. Freescale specifically says that the chip and its security feature will prevent the electronic control unit from being used in other vehicles. I for one don’t think anyone has the right to limit your access to your cars systems for legitimate means such as tuning.

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