Authors: chenhongwei, director of Huabang electronic security solution marketing departmentHuangXinwei, marketing manager of Huabang electronic flash memory products

There is no doubt that in the post epidemic era, changes in patient health monitoring methods and changes in face-to-face medical consultation services will have greater demand for personal and wearable medical devices. This change in terminal demand is bound to trigger a new round of demand for more secure and high-capacity nonvolatile storage products in the market, so as to meet the needs of wearable devices to store more user data, make the cost per unit more reasonable, and have higher security performance.

Personal medical equipment contains the risk of invasion or attack

In the foreseeable future, people in many countries / regions still need to continue to comply with the mandatory regulations on maintaining social distance in indoor space. Schools, factories and hospitals, for example, must try to reduce the number of indoor gatherings in order to maintain a safe social distance. Therefore, the medical and health system must give priority to some technologies that can be monitored and diagnosed outside the hospital, so that patients do not have to go to the hospital to observe in person.

Wearable health tracking devices provide people with a new lifestyle, enabling them to maintain healthier living habits and enhance their ability to fight diseases. Now, most people are familiar with wearable health tracking devices, such as user heart rate monitoring. Huabang predicts that the proportion of medical personnel using wearable devices to treat various diseases will increase rapidly in the future. In the post epidemic era, professional wearable medical devices and consumer wearable medical devices are likely to become new favorites in the market.

However, the significant growth in the number of users of wearable medical technology has also brought about related security risks:

·Professional medical equipment has extremely high requirements for safety characteristics in some use cases – it is vital to the lives of users. Therefore, these devices must be able to withstand malicious attacks such as distributed denial of service attacks, so as to avoid interruption or paralysis of device operations.

·Wearable devices record users’ private data, and most of them are transmitted to host devices such as smart phones through wireless networking (such as Bluetooth low-power radio). It is important that users can trust that their devices will only provide data to authorized parties, such as users’ doctors.

There are risks in the use of networked wearable devices. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other official agencies have issued a series of warnings, requiring device users and manufacturers to pay attention to known risks, such as the sweyntooth series network security vulnerability that will affect the Bluetooth low-power radio chipset. In March this year, the FDA said in its announcement on sweyntooth that “software that exploits these vulnerabilities has been publicly available under certain circumstances”. When medical devices transmit data or program codes, they face the most serious threat: for example, when wearable heart rate monitoring devices upload heart rate measurement records to users’ smart phones through Bluetooth low-power online; Or when the updated firmware is transmitted from the cloud to the wearable device through the wireless network.

For simple wearable products, the construction of safety measures is mostly limited to microcontrollers or system chips (SOCS). Such devices will have a small flash memory area built in the chip for storing safety program codes. But for more precise devices, because the program code capacity is too large, which exceeds the memory capacity of embedded MCU, it is necessary to use external flash memory to store the program code.

However, if such external memory lacks security functions such as encryption engine and trust root, it will become a security vulnerability. If the external memory is at risk, no matter how high the security of the host MCU or SOC is, the entire device and its data will be threatened. Trustme of Huabang ® W77q, the latest secure memory product in the series, can protect the device from remote software attacks and ensure the safe and reliable end-to-end security of networked medical devices.

TrustME ® W77q mainly solves potential safety problems through the following functions:

·Security program code update, including wireless update through the end-to-end encrypted channel between the update authorization unit and w77q, even when the host MCU or SOC is invaded;

·Secure boot and trust root

·Transfer authenticated and encrypted data between flash device and host

·On chip execution of program codes for boot and application programs (XIP, execute in place)

·System recovery capability, enabling major security functions such as protection, detection and recovery.

How to optimize the cost of storing large amounts of personal data

The use of wearable devices and home patient monitoring devices can relieve the pressure of medical institutions and help the clinic and hospital maintain a safe social distance. However, these personal devices generate a large amount of personal data. There are monitoring devices with multiple sensors in the market, which can track various vital signs at the same time, such as heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygen concentration and temperature. Since wearable devices cannot be connected to the network continuously, the system architecture must be able to store user data in the machine, so high-capacity nonvolatile memory is required. In addition, the diagnosis and treatment of patients need to use these data for judgment, so data integrity is also one of the key task requirements.

The traditional memory type used for non-volatile, zero error data storage devices is nor flash. In low-capacity applications below 512Mbit, nor flash is a very cost-effective choice. However, when the required data capacity reaches more than 512Mbit, the NAND flash process has more advantages. In Huabang’s medical device market outlook, nor flash used to store user data needs an alternative with high reliability and high speed. To this end, Huabang has developed a new technology to improve the reading and writing performance of its SLC NAND flash products.

For example, w25n qspinand series provides 512Mbit, 1GBIT, 2GBIT and 4GBIT capacity options, and shares the same interface with traditional SPI nor flash, so it can simply and quickly replace products in existing designs. Moreover, the unit cost of 512Mbit capacity is lower, and the circuit board space used is also less. W25n device also has fast programming / erasing efficiency, and is reliable and stable: the product contains more than 100000 programming / erasing cycles, and more than 10 years of data retention. An error correction code (ECC) engine is built in the chip to ensure that no bit error occurs to the data in the storage space.

In addition, Huabang also provides a more efficient migration path, which is suitable for medical devices that integrate a large number of sensors and operate at a high sampling speed: the high-performance qspinand flash and octalnand flash products provide the same high-level reliability as SLC NAND flash, and the data bandwidth is also higher.

A new generation of personal medical equipment

The impact of the COVID-19 is still ongoing, but it is clear that the medical industry is bound to use more personal and wearable technical equipment. Among them, data is the key to these emerging personal medical devices, and also has a great impact on the design of security and storage systems. The wearable medical technology market is changing with each passing day. Huabang’s safe nor flash products and high-reliability, high-capacity qspinand flash have taken the lead in development. OEMs can rely on Huabang to continue to use its new product types and technologies to meet the latest market demand for safe, low-cost program code and data storage.

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