Crypto & OS support boosts Cortus' processor IP in home automation

May 25, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Processor-core-vendor Cortus has expanded its offering to the IoT/home automation sector – for those design teams seeking to move to an SoC/ASIC basis for their product – by establishing relationships with suppliers of comprehensive security and cryptographic IP, and of RTOS and associated development support.

Optimised cryptography support is now in place on the 32-bit Cortus APS3RP core, from Swiss company Oberon microsystems, whose offering yields fast cryptographic performance and small memory footprint on the Cortus IP. Oberon’s cryptographic code is a component of its OberonHAP product, and has been ported to and optimised for the Cortus APS3RP 32-bit IP core – including writing critical sections in assembly language for efficiency. Small memory footprint and minimalist processor core is well suited to secure ASICs in battery-powered home automation devices.


Oberon microsystems has developed, analysed and optimised the cryptographic code of OberonHAP since 2013. It has developed – and verified by use of formal mathematical analysis – novel algorithm combinations, leading to its claims of code three times as fast as a good implementation in C. OberonHAP thus makes secure home automation feasible even on low-power, low-cost 32-bit microcontroller cores for ASICs.

OberonHAP implements the following cryptographic algorithms for pairing, authentication and encryption: Secure Remote Password (SRP); Ed25519; Curve25519; HKDF-SHA-512; and ChaCha20-Poly1305. For an integrated circuit with the processor core running at 50 MHz, the cryptographic processing of the SRP algorithm – which is required once in the lifetime of a home automation device – takes less than five seconds. Cryptographic processing during opening of a session between a device and a smartphone takes less than 100 milliseconds. RAM requirements were brought down to 2.5 kB.


The APS3RP is an enhanced performance version of the APS3R and provides a single cycle parallel multiplier. It has a Harvard architecture and a 3-stage pipeline. The Cortus family of APS processors offers a wide choice of computational performance and system complexity for embedded SoCs. All cores interface to Cortus’ peripherals including Ethernet 10/100 MAC, USB 2.0 Device and USB 2.0 OTG. They also share the simple vectored interrupt structure which ensures rapid, real time interrupt response, with low software overhead.


To expand its OS and IDE