NXP introduces its first automotive-qualified Secure Element with contactless NFC and contact interface for smart car keys (smart fobs). The Secure Element can be used in car keys and many other safety-critical applications to provide increasingly smart, connected vehicles with the necessary security.
NXP’s Secure Element (SE) NCJ37x is a high-security Common Criteria EAL 6+ certified automotive microcontroller. The chip features advanced cryptographic accelerators and integrated functions against electrical attacks for various safety-critical automotive applications, such as smart fobs, Qi 1.3 authentication and car-to-cloud communications. The microcontroller supports Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) protocols. The NFC interface can be powered battery-free from the field according to ISO 14443-4, and other ICs can be connected via the SPI interface. Smart fobs combine passive near-field communication (NFC) and secure digital key management of the NCJ37x with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and ultra-wideband (UWB).
The development of this Secure Element comes as vehicles are increasingly equipped with smart access systems: More and more, car manufacturers are relying on smartphone access systems. They are developing matching smart fobs in compliance with appropriate security and flexibility criteria, adopting the wireless interfaces of the smartphones. This creates new application possibilities, such as storing digital keys for several vehicles on one smart fob, adding payment methods such as charging or bank cards, access cards for hotels, parking lots, and many other smart city and smart mobility services. To meet these requirements and accelerate development time, OEMs are looking for an open, multifunctional platform with higher security and flexibility. The new NXP NCJ37x Secure Element in the Smart Fob works with NXP’s on-board NCJ38x Secure Element and corresponding Secure Applets. The passive ISO 14443-4 certified NFC, SPI and I²C interfaces reliably protect against the latest attack scenarios. They also extend the feature set for a wide range of secure in-car applications that require protected processing of sensitive data.
“The NCJ37x supports the trend towards digitization of modern access systems with a very high level of security appropriate for this application,” said Rainer Lutz, Director Digital Key & NFC at NXP Semiconductors. “A dedicated smart fob software applet compatible with the CCC protocol for digital keys is the right choice for the development of multifunctional smart fobs. NXP’s NCJ37x is another step to advance the security of smart connected vehicles.”
The NCJ37x features the highly flexible Java Card Operating System (JCOP), Trust Provisioning Service and secure over-the-air update capability. The Secure Element is Common Criteria EAL 6+ certified, making it suitable for a wide range of automotive security-related applications. The passive or field-powered NFC interface is suitable as a backup should the smart fob’s battery run out. With 600kB of secure flash memory, there is sufficient memory to enable a multi-service approach with multiple active security domains and applications on the Secure Element.
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