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Embedded Systems Blog

EmSA Launches LinkedIn Page

September 5th, 2023 Comments off

We are pleased to announce the recent establishment of the Embedded Systems Academy LinkedIn page. This platform will function as a continuous source for updates, technical discussions, and detailed articles focusing on CAN, CANopen, and J1939 technologies, our main areas of expertise. The materials presented there will offer a more detailed analysis compared to the posts on this blog.

The first series of articles is developed to provide professionals in the field of embedded communication systems with valuable insights and knowledge. It includes application articles that demonstrate the application of CANopen in areas such as warehouse logistics and emergency response vehicles.

Additionally, we have a series of four articles that examine the requirements for building embedded networks capable of handling diverse real-time communication demands. This series discusses the various real-time requirements of different applications, offering guidelines on how to effectively employ CAN or CANopen to address these unique cases. This series is called Balancing Speed and Priority: Crafting Embedded Networks for Diverse Real-Time Communication Demands.

We invite you to follow our LinkedIn page to stay updated on the latest technical advancements and insights in the industry.

Thank you for your support!

Open Meetings and Papers at the international CAN Conference

May 31st, 2021 Comments off

The 17th international CAN Conference is an online event about the Controller Area Network happening from June 14th to June 17th, 2021. Papers presented cover topics such as updates on the physical and data link layer for CAN FD and XL, CANopen testing, CANopen FD and Security.

The tutors of EmSA participate in presenting two papers: “A simplified classic CANopen to CANopen FD migration path using smart bridges” and “Achieving multi-level CAN (FD) security by complementing available technologies”.

PCAN-Router-FD
Smart Bridges based on PCAN-Router FD

The paper about smart bridges introduces a solution to easily combine classical CANopen devices with CANopen FD devices. The bridges developed here offer one classical CANopen and one CANopen FD port and “auto-translate” CANopen and CANopen FD messages transparently. As an example, SDO transfers on the classical CANopen side are automatically translated to USDO transfers on the CANopen FD side.

The paper about security reviews currently available security solutions for CAN (FD) and examines how they complement each other. The security methods combine here are CAN message ID guarding, a CAN crypto layer and (D)TLS.

For the first time, the iCC combines papers with open CiA IG and SiG (Interest Group and Special interest Group) meetings. Here “open” means that after registration anyone can participate to see how the different work groups operate. Our engineers will participate in the SIG special car add-on devices (CiA 447) and the IG CANopen FD.

For more details and registration, see www.can-cia.org/icc

Categories: CAN, CANopen, Security Tags: , , ,

Training and event paper presentation videos online

February 13th, 2020 Comments off

Over the last years we published more than 50 articles, papers, books, webinars and we also continuously updated our training materials. However, some of the training material and especially scientific papers only reach a small percentage of the embedded community. Therefore we decided to publish more free educational videos to reach more of you. As a start we created several playlists on our EmSA Youtube channel. These include:

  • CANopen FD Intro:
    Introductory videos to CANopen FD, also covering some basics like an introduction to the CANopen Object Dictionary concept
  • CAN (FD) Security:
    Video collection about CAN and CAN FD security challenges and solutions
  • MCUXpresso Middleware:
    Video collection about NXP’s MCUXpresso and CANopen libraries included

We plan to publish more videos in the upcoming month, further focusing on CAN, CAN FD, CANopen, CANopen FD topics including introductory videos as well as in-depth technology classes.

Please subscribe to the channel to stay informed about new videos published.

CAN (FD) / CANopen (FD) security specification updates

September 16th, 2019 Comments off

Our authors Christian Keydel and Olaf Pfeiffer published an article in the current CAN newsletter, summarizing the current status of CAN security specifications.

Please follow the link above for more details.

Excerpt:

End of June 2019, the CiA association hold a phone conference for safety and security issues. Holger Zeltwanger gave the participants an update regarding “base documents”. When defining security solutions for Classical CAN, CAN FD, or CAN XL systems, it would be preferable to not start from scratch defining security basics for embedded systems or embedded communication systems. Unfortunately, the current draft of ISO 21434 “Road Vehicles – Cybersecurity engineering” does not seem to be suitable, as it is very generic and not yet completed. It is more of a guideline what designers and developers need to keep in mind when designing a “secured” vehicle.

Another document suggested is the “Baseline Security Recommendations for IoT” by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity. Until the next meeting, CiA will review and report, if that document is suitable to be referred to also by CiA documents. CAN XL is still in an early specification phase and the related special interest group, recognizing the possibility for security features in hardware to be part of future CAN XL controllers, therefore suggested adding security features to CAN XL first. One of the discussed options is a blacklist/whitelist scheme like the one implemented by the NXP secure CAN transceiver family. Such a scheme can eliminate several potential attack vectors at once if all participants in a CAN (XL) network actively support it. Once we see which security features made it into the CAN XL specification (and hardware), we can review if any of these can still be applied to CAN FD, too, for example on the transceiver level.

However, potential CAN controller specific hardware security features will most likely not be suitable to migrate back into CAN FD, so protocol based security solutions are still required.

 

Micro CANcrypt: How small can we go?

May 31st, 2019 Comments off

Our tutors Christian Keydel and Olaf Pfeiffer published their next security article in the CAN newsletter. This one is about “making security work” for already deployed CAN systems with limited MCU resources available.

Excerpt:

Some things appear to have not changed significantly in the past 20 years of Embedded Systems programming. Back then we would start developing minimal solutions for clients that wanted to add CANopen using “as few resources as possible”. Today, clients want to add CAN security to an already deployed system and again, often with only minimal resources available. Same situation, different technology.

The biggest change compared to unsecured CAN communications is the added security information, and the question is where in the CAN frames we want to put it. In networks that only use 11-bit-identifier CAN frames, like virtually all CANopen systems do, it is convenient if secure frames use a 29-bit CAN identifier instead, as illustrated in figure 1 “Adding security information to a CAN frame”. In the available extra 18-bits long “security record” we can then put a 10-bit signature and some control information. This method greatly simplifies mixing non-secure and secure CAN communications – a secure frame then still uses the same lower 11-bit portion of the 29-bit CAN identifier as the unsecured frame would, and the added security record can be easily recognized. The 18-bit record comprises a 2-bit truncated key refresh counter, a 6-bit truncated timer value and the 10-bit Micro CANcrypt signature. As all devices synchronize their refresh counter and timer locally, the truncated information is enough for receivers to internally maintain the full counter and timer values.

In comparison to CANrypt, Micro CANcrypt uses a simplified key synchronization method. Figure 2 “The Secure Key Sync cycle” illustrates how four event messages use the extended security record to share information. Here the extended security record contains a 16-bit timer and a 16-bit random value. These synchronised messages are used once per second to share / create an initialization vector (IV) for a dynamic, current key from the session key and to synchronize a 16-bit timer value and an 8-bit key refresh counter. A block cipher is used to generate the dynamic key from a shared symmetric permanent key using the IV generated in each cycle.

For more details, read the original article in the CAN Newsletter June 2019

 

Categories: CAN, Security Tags: , ,

CANgineBerry software and firmware updates

May 6th, 2019 Comments off

The CANgineBerry (www.cangineberry.com) is a smart coprocessor module for the Raspberry Pi®, other popular embedded microprocessor systems or a PC. It allows offloading CANopen tasks from the main system while communicating with it though a regular serial port which greatly simplifies application development. Firmware for different purposes can be programmed through the same interface. New releases for the CANopen Device and Manager application firmware are now further enhancing the functionality of the CANgineBerry.

The CANopenIA-BEDS (V1.5) firmware for CANopen devices now also supports the tunneling of plain-CAN messages for special cases where CANopen is not used or the network needs custom messages. It also adds CANcrypt to support secure and authenticated CANopen communication between up to 15 participants. Lastly, it now supports an advanced manual triggering for Transmit Process Data Objects (TPDOs) where the host application can decide when exactly to trigger the transmission of a TPDO in addition to the standard fully-automatic mode, .

The CANopenIA-MGR (V1.7) firmware implements a self-configuring CANopen controller/manager. It contiuously monitors the network for new CANopen nodes and scans their configuration in order to set up automatic PDO handling. Also here, the new version implements advanced manual triggering options for TPDOs. For example, when the application wants to write data to a remote CANopen node’s Object Dictionary (OD) entry, the default behavior is that the controller automatically decides which transport — PDO or Service Data Object (SDO) — to use, depending on whether that OD entry is part of a PDO or not. In some cases, more control is desirable, though, so now the application can disable the automatic handling and manually select SDO vs. PDO as well as manually trigger TPDO transmissions.

The latest CANgineBerry software and firmware is available here: [CANgineBerry.com]

The CANgineBerry is available here: [US] [UK] [EU] [DE]

Highlights of upcoming classes at Embedded World Nuremberg, 26th to 29th of February 2019

January 10th, 2019 Comments off

With every start of a new year, those preparing for the Embedded World and its conference in Nuremburg get busy – so do we. This year our tutors and partners present several papers, mostly around CAN (FD), CANopen (FD) and security issues. Over the last year it became clear that in embedded communication there are a variety of attack vectors as illustrated in the figure right. For protection, security is required on multiple levels, preferably at every network layer.

Find some recommended classes below. The full program is available here.

Tuesday 26th, from Communication – CAN

09:30 – 10:00 / Troubleshooting in Embedded Networks Based on CANopen FD
Reiner Zitzmann, CAN in Automation

10:00 – 10:30 / Automated Node ID Assignment in CAN and CAN(FD) Networks
Christian Keydel & Olaf Pfeiffer, Embedded Systems Academy

10:30 – 11:00 / Signal Improvement Concept for CAN FD Networks
Yao Yao, CAN in Automation

Tuesday 26th, from HW-based Security

12:00 – 12:30 / Extend MCU Security Capabilities Beyond Trusted Execution with Hardware Crypto Acceleration and Asset Protection
Saurin Choksi, NXP Semiconductors

15:00 – 15:30 / Methods for Provisioning Security Features in a Cortex-M33 based MCU Using A Physically Unclonable Function
Rob Cosaro, NXP Semiconductors

Wednesday 27th, from Architectures & Hacking

16:30 – 17:00 / Securing all Network Layers of CAN (FD) Communication
Olaf Pfeiffer, Embedded Systems Academy
Andreas Walz, Offenburg Univeristy

Meet us at Embedded World

During the show, you will find our tutors either at the CiA booth (hall 1, booth 630) with the CANopen FD Demonstrator or at the NXP booth (hall 4A, booth 220) featuring a Multi-Layer CANopen FD Security Demonstrator.

Security column: Updates and Outlook 2018/2019

November 21st, 2018 Comments off

Over the past year, our authors Christian Keydel and Olaf Pfeiffer have published several security- related CAN articles in the CAN newsletter. It’s now time for an up-to-date summary, review and outlook.

How do we address security?

To analyze the application-specific attack scenarios, we can group systems with CAN-connected devices as follows:

  • Private and locked:
    Only trusted persons have physical access to CAN wires and devices. There are no gateways to other networks.
  • Remotely accessible:
    The CAN bus is connected to one or multiple gateways to other networks.
  • Time-limited physical access:
    An untrusted party can be expected to have physical access to the CAN bus and devices for a limited time.
  • Unlimited physical access:
    An untrusted party can be expected to continuously have physical access to the system.

What measures should be taken?

The recommended security measures for the mentioned groups range from none for group 1 to state-of-the-art for group 4 which presents the toughest challenge. With virtually unlimited physical access, an untrusted party can go as far as using flash/code extraction services for MCUs to obtain code and private keys. To thwart such attempts, you will have to use a secure microcontroller with built-in encrypted key and code storage like the NXP LPC54Sxx series for example. Here, the encryption is based on a private PUF (Physical Unclonable Function) which uses physical properties that vary for each chip and can never be extracted, like contents of uninitialized SRAM.

Securing CAN communications is a viable option especially for group 2 and in combination with physical protection also group 3 applications. As we’ve shown, it needs only minimal resources to implement injection monitoring in combination with a secure heartbeat (see article “Scalable CAN security”). However, due to the limited data size in CAN messages, individual message authentication often requires sending a second message with the authentication data.

With CAN FD, adding security becomes easier, as the payload and security record can often be combined in a single CAN FD data frame, avoiding the overhead of managing a second authentication message.

What can we expect in the future?

In the new CiA CAN Cyber Security group it has become clear that where security is required, it should be added to all communication layers.  To add message monitoring and flood protection to the CAN bus, there are hardware solutions like NXPs TJA115x secure CAN/CAN FD transceiver family. Similar protection can be added in software to the lowest driver layers. Just above the data link layer, CANcrypt (FD) provides a secure grouping mechanism. For the CANopen/CANopen FD and J1939 protocol layers, different security features can be implemented, including authenticated access for diagnostics or remote-control features.

Reaching highest security levels will only be possible if the hardware supports securing the software and communications, using built-in features for the protection of stored code and keys.

Categories: CAN, CANopen, Security Tags: , , ,

CANcrypt FD security for NXP LPC54618 now available

September 4th, 2018 Comments off

Today, Embedded Systems Academy published the first release of a free CANcrypt FD implementation for the NXP LPC54618 microcon-troller. CANcrypt FD is a security middleware, providing authentication and encryption for CAN FD. It uses an 8-byte security record, embedded in the 64-byte data field of CAN FD frames. The cipher to use is configurable – the examples use SPECK-64, XTEA-64 and AES-128.

The base security mechanism in CANcrypt FD is a secure heartbeat that cyclically generates a dynamic, shared key among the grouped devices. The device address / ID has now 8 bits, up from 4. While still only up to 15 devices can actively participate in the key generation, another up to 239 devices can passively update their keys to transmit and receive secure messages.

A new feature is the active initial grouping cycle. Similar to the pairing process, this mode allows the automatic grouping of devices during a first-time power-up of the network. The devices participating in the grouping process generate/negotiate a group key that is then kept in local non-volatile memory.

For more details, see our article No excuses for not securing your CAN FD communication in the current September 2018 CAN Newsletter or download the CANcryptFD NXP LPC54618 example implementation including documentation.

Cyber security workshop for CAN (FD) at CiA

April 16th, 2018 Comments off

At the upcoming CiA cyber security workshop (Nuremberg, May 2nd) our engineers participate with two presentations. We inform participants about the most common attack vectors used on CAN (FD) systems and some of the basic protection mechanisms already available today. In a second part we will outline CANcrypt based mechanisms and how they can easily be used to implement a generic security layer. This layer can be used in between the CAN Data Link Layer and the higher protocol layers like J1939 or CANopen.

The cyber security workshop is free for CiA members. To register, visit the CiA web pages.