Maxim’s PUF Key Protection Technology Enables Secure IoT MCU

  • Provides secure boot for root-of-trust
  • Best suited for implementation of highly sensitive data in insecure regions

Due to the widespread implementation of IoT technology for various applications, those being deployed in hostile or uncontrolled areas are highly vulnerable to physical attacks. To minimise the damages caused as a result of exposing secret encryption keys, designers want enhanced system defences for such mission-critical applications.

With this in mind, Maxim Integrated Products introduces the MAX32520 ChipDNATM secure Arm Cortex-M4 microcontroller, a first of its kind secure MCU with built-in physically unclonable function (PUF) technology.  Its multiple protection layers provide a highly secure technology in a cost-effective format for IoT, healthcare, industrial and computing applications.

The MAX32520 with ChipDNA uses a tamper-proof PUF key for flash encryption, secure boot for root-of-trust and serial flash emulation. Additionally, the physical security inherent in the PUF key eliminates the need for a battery to destroy secret-key materials when under attack.

Key Features

  • Tamper-Proof: Secret keys generated by the ChipDNA PUF circuitry are highly resistant to physical attacks, ensuring the keys that protect data and systems are out of the reach of attackers.
  • IP Protection: Robust flash-encryption using PUF protects sensitive information, enabling them to withstand advanced physical inspection and prying.
  • Advanced Encryption: The DeepCover secure microcontroller can protect all user data, as it is equipped with SP 800-90A and SP 800-90B compliant TRNG and hardware accelerators for AES-256, ECDSA P-521 and SHA-512.
  • Large Memory:
  • Cost-Effective: A 120 MHz ARM Cortex M4 processor and plenty of memory provide advanced security features. It eliminates several components like a battery, a tamper monitor IC and system management micros that are often found in security-sensitive applications.
Ultra-Low-power MCU Shrinks Embedded Designs For Sensing & Measurement Apps

“IoT developers are eager to add security to their designs but they are hard-pressed to find the expertise needed to get them to market with advanced protection,” said Tanner Johnson, senior analyst, IoT Cybersecurity at Omdia. “Enabling developers to incorporate PUF-encrypted flash and secure boot loading without system redesign or in-house code development will help them reduce time-to-market dramatically.”

“The threats to IoT systems are getting more advanced all the time, and tools to attack systems move from the realm of academia to the realm of open source every day,” said Kris Ardis, executive director, Micros, Security and Software Business Unit at Maxim Integrated. “MAX32520 with ChipDNA is a step forward. Built around the most advanced key security technology and targeting IoT applications, it will protect your data and IP, and has the technology to future-proof designs against tomorrow’s system threats.”


  • The MAX32520 is available at Maxim’s website and also available from authorised distributors.
  • The MAX32520-KIT# evaluation kit is now available.



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