ARMv8-M Architecture Simplifies Security for Smart Embedded Devices

Launch of ARM®v8-M architecture extends ARM TrustZone® technology to microcontrollers, creating a foundation in processor hardware that makes it easier for developers to deliver security in small embedded devices.

CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom — (BUSINESS WIRE) — November 10, 2015 — ARM has driven security for devices based on ARM Cortex®-M processors into the hardware layer to ensure developers have a fast and efficient way of protecting any embedded or Internet of Things (IoT) device. This is achieved with ARM TrustZone technology, now available as a feature within the latest ARMv8-M architecture being launched today at ARM TechCon 2015. TrustZone helps secure data, firmware, and peripherals by creating separate trusted and non-trusted states across the processor system.

“By offering security, enhanced scalability, and improved debug, the ARMv8-M architecture makes it easier for developers to meet the needs of next generation embedded devices,” said Mike Muller, chief technology officer, ARM. “Security is critical, yet small embedded devices often have limited protection or are secured with software-managed security that requires developers to have significant technical expertise. By moving the protection down into the hardware architecture, as is achieved with ARMv8-M, we are making security easier to implement and much more efficient.”

Beyond the architecture, ARM is taking data protection to the next level with the TrustZone CryptoCell product family. The enhanced security technology creates an additional layer of hardware security and enables the isolated storage of high value assets, offering optimized cryptography and the lifecycle management of key materials.

“As IoT innovation and adoption continues to grow, so has the opportunity for new cybersecurity risks,” said Shankar Somasundaram, senior director, Internet of Things, Symantec. “Symantec has partnered with ARM to bring trust and security to IoT devices by releasing one of the first security commercial applications running on TrustZone and will continue to work with ARM to deliver innovative ‘secure-by-design’ solutions for TrustZone on ARMv8-M based devices.”


The new architecture makes it easier for developers to write code that spans from the most energy-efficient to the highest performing ARMv8-M based processor. It also makes it easier to integrate low power ARM Cortex-M processors alongside more powerful Cortex-A processors, to allow the development of higher performance system-on-chip (SoC) products. By enhancing the industry’s ability to produce premium embedded SoC designs, there will be new opportunities for smart connected technology. This can benefit any sector, including health, identification or factory machine management, where the analysis and use of secure data can add new value.

New ARM AMBA® Specification Extends Security to the Embedded SoC

To complement the ARMv8-M architecture, the ARM AMBA 5 AHB5 specification has been launched to extend the TrustZone security foundation from the processor to the entire system for embedded designs. This new version of the AHB interconnect standard is available to download and adds security controls as well as extended memory types required for higher performance embedded systems. AMBA 5 AHB5 supports ARMv8-M architecture and TrustZone technology.

Ecosystem Partner Support

To further accelerate the design of ARMv8-M based systems, ARM is providing early access to software development tools, software abstraction layers, and the architecture reference simulation model. These components allow system architects and software engineers to develop a TrustZone enabled embedded or IoT application prior to the availability of devices. The tools are available under an early access program to ecosystem partners:

ARM Keil® MDK: including Compiler, Debugger and IDE for Cortex-M processor based microcontrollers. Enhancements to Keil MDK enable both secure and non-secure ARMv8-M software development.

ARM CMSIS: includes functions to utilize the TrustZone security extensions of the ARMv8-M architecture. The non-secure programmer’s model of the CMSIS-Core allows direct migration of Cortex-M application code.

ARM Fast Models: provides the ARMv8-M architecture reference simulation model that connects to EDA and software development tools to enable complete software validation.

ARMv8-M architecture training: is available for early adopters online at

Notes to Editors

Please visit the press release hosted on the ARM Newsroom to view supporting quotes from the following ARM Partners: Express Logic, Green Hills Software, IAR, IBM, Mentor Graphics, Micrium, Real Time Engineers, Symantec and Trustonic.

About ARM TrustZone
ARM TrustZone technology provides a system approach to processor partitioning that isolates hardware resources and software to create a “secure” world protected from software attacks. Devices with safety and security operating requirements can isolate and execute secure applications in a trusted environment with priority execution over the non-secure applications in the normal world. Devices requiring a safe domain with dedicated peripherals for trusted applications to support secure software updates, digital rights management, and trusted payments can all benefit from the hardware partitioning technology provided by TrustZone.

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