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Tortuga launches Radix-M, new firmware security product

Tortuga Logic has launched a firmware security platform that automatically performs security validation of firmware on SoC designs using an existing platform from Cadence.

Tortuga Logic, in collaboration with Cadence Design Systems, has launched Radix-M, a platform that can perform security validation of firmware on complex system-on-chip designs. Tortuga Logic is a cybersecurity company that creates hardware security verification platforms.

Radix-M identifies and prevents unknown firmware vulnerabilities and automates previous manual processes firmware engineers and SoC security teams conducted using the existing hardware- and cloud-based Cadence Palladium Z1 Enterprise Emulation Platform.

Palladium Z1 Enterprise Emulation Platform is a data center-class emulation system. It uses virtual target relocation capability and job shaping allocation to avoid recompiles and enable payloads to be allocated into available resources at runtime.

SoC design teams run emulation to ensure their firmware is operating correctly -- firmware sets hardware configuration parameters to ensure correct functionality. In the past, the only way to assess firmware security, Tortuga claims, was through a tedious, manual process that did not adequately identify vulnerabilities directly associated with the hardware, where the majority of exploits occur.

Radix-M is an automated way to perform security validation procedures for firmware and chip designs. It can be integrated with commercial emulation systems, such as Cadence Palladium Z1 Platform, to analyze an entire software stack on the hardware. This ensures simultaneous security on both parts of the system.

Security for firmware has been a growing concern among microchip flaws and supply chain hacks. In January 2018, Apple released software updates after all its devices were affected by microchip flaws. At the time, mitigations to resolve the issues caused by microchip flaws were estimated to have caused up to a 30% reduction in performance. According to Tortuga, the industry has seen a five times increase in hardware vulnerabilities in the past two years.

Radix-M is the second in Tortuga's series of hardware-based security products, following Radix-S. Radix-M is available now.

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