DeepCover Secure Microcontroller with USB and Hardware Cryptography

Small Footprint Cryptographic Microcontroller with Advanced Physical Security


DeepCover® embedded security solutions cloak sensitive data under multiple layers of advanced physical security to provide the most secure key storage possible.

The DeepCover Secure Microcontroller (MAXQ1050) was designed for USB secure token and smart card reader applications that require certificate-based or other public key cryptographic schemes. The device also incorporates a sophisticated security mechanism to protect secret key data; two self-destruct inputs and environmental monitors (temperature and voltage sensors) erase secret key data when an attack condition is detected. The device has an integrated full-speed USB device interface (including transceiver), hardware SPI controller, and an ISO 7816 UART (universal asynchronous receiver-transmitter) for smart card communication. The device supports high-speed encryption with hardware accelerators for AES, RSA, DSA, ECDSA, SHA-1, SHA-224, SHA-256, DES, and 3DES. A true hardware random-number generator is included for key generation and challenge generation.

The device uses the 32-bit, pipelined, highly efficient MAXQ30 microcontroller core. It integrates 128KB flash memory, 12KB of volatile SRAM, 4KB of battery-backed erasable NV SRAM, and 256B of battery-backed, secure zeroization NV SRAM. An additional 1.5KB of volatile cryptographic memory can also be used as general-purpose data memory. The 256B of battery-backed NV SRAM can be used for key storage and other critical data. The 256B memory can be erased in less than 1µs using a single pulse ("rapid zeroization"), even in battery-backed mode.

The device is powered either from the USB bus or by a separate 3.3V voltage supply. A battery connection is provided for applications that want to maintain secret key data for years without draining the battery from application use. In battery-backed mode, the NV SRAM and security sensors consume less than 240nA (typ). Battery backup is optional; applications can choose to store critical data in the flash memory when the cost of the battery outweighs the benefits of constant monitoring for tamper conditions.

Key Features

  • High-Performance, Low-Power, 32-Bit MAXQ30 RISC Core
  • Operates from USB Power or Single 3.3V Supply
  • Runs from 20MHz (typ) Internal Oscillator
  • Supports External 12/24MHz Crystal Oscillator for Microcontroller and USB Operation
  • On-Chip 2x/4x Clock Multiplier
  • 16-Bit Instruction Word, 32-Bit Internal Data Bus
  • 16 x 32-Bit Accumulators
  • 16 x 32-Bit General-Purpose Working Registers
  • Up to 20 General-Purpose I/O Pins
  • 5V Tolerant I/O
  • Virtually Unlimited Software Stack
  • Optimized for C-Compiler (High-Speed/Density Code)
  • Memory
    • 128KB Flash Memory, 512 x 32 Page Size
    • Flash Memory Supports 20k Erase/Write Cycles per Sector
    • 256B of Secure NV SRAM
    • 4KB Battery-Backed NV SRAM
    • 12KB SRAM
    • Secure JTAG/TAP for In-System Programming and On-Chip Debugger Access
  • Security
    • Unique 64-Bit Serial Number
    • Tamper Detection with Rapid Key/Data Destruction
    • Secret Key Destruction on Tamper Events
    • Permanent Loader Lockout Option
    • Proprietary Code Scrambling Technique Using Random Keys
    • Hardware Accelerators for AES, RSA, DSA, ECDSA, DES, 3DES, SHA-1, SHA-224, SHA-256
    • True Hardware Random-Number Generator
    • Temperature and Voltage Sensors to Detect Attacks
    • Two Self-Destruct Input Pins
  • Additional Peripherals
    • Power-Fail Warning
    • Power-On-Reset/Brownout Reset
    • Full-Speed USB Device with Six Endpoint Buffers and Integrated Transceiver
    • ISO 7816 Smart Card UART with FIFO
    • 16-Bit Programmable Timers/Counters with Prescaler, Capture/Compare, and PWM
    • SPI Master/Slave Hardware
    • Programmable Watchdog Timer
    • Up to 20 General-Purpose I/O Pins with Eight External Interrupts


  • Certificate Management
  • e-Commerce
  • Electronic Signature Generation
  • Pay-per-Play
  • Prepaid Utility
  • Secure Access Control
  • Security and Banking Tokens
  • Smart Grid Security
Part Number MCU Core Core Clock Speed
Data Processing Internal Flash
Internal SRAM
USARTs SPI Bus USB GPIO Pins PWM Timer Features
max max
MAXQ1050  MAXQ30 (RISC) 24 32-bit 128 12 1 1 Device Including Transceiver 20 2
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Pricing Notes:
This pricing is BUDGETARY, for comparing similar parts. Prices are in U.S. dollars and subject to change. Quantity pricing may vary substantially and international prices may differ due to local duties, taxes, fees, and exchange rates. For volume-specific and version-specific prices and delivery, please see the price and availability page or contact an authorized distributor.

Technical Documents

App Note 5937 Fundamentals of Electronic Security: Tampering with the Easy Targets
App Note 5932 Fundamentals of Electronic Security: What Does Security Really Mean?
App Note 5926 Battling Threats in the Smart Grid Supply Chain
App Note 5725 Silicon, Security, and the Internet of Things
App Note 5696 Protect Your Designs from Malware with the DeepCover MAXQ1050 Secure Microcontroller
App Note 5689 Distribution Automation and the Smart Grid: Coming of Age with a New Set of Challenges
App Note 5631 Ensuring the Complete Life-Cycle Security of Smart Meters
App Note 5537 Smart Grid Security: Recent History Demonstrates the Dire Need
App Note 5536 Energy Measurement and Security for the Smart Grid - Too Long Overlooked
Tutorial 5522 Industrial Systems Need the Added Protection of Security ICs
Tutorial 5486 Securing the Life Cycle in the Smart Grid
App Note 5430 Improving the Speed of Modular Exponentiation with DeepCover Secure Microcontrollers (MAXQ1050, MAXQ1850, and MAXQ1103)
App Note 5427 RSA-Key Generation Using the DeepCover Secure Microcontroller (MAXQ1050)
App Note 5393 Getting Started with DeepCover Secure Microcontroller (MAXQ1050) Evaluation (EV) Kit and the Rowley CrossStudio Compiler for the MAXQ30
App Note 5337 Securing the Smart Meter
App Note 5145 Modular-Exponentiation Timing with MAXQ30 Microcontrollers
App Note 5028 DeepCover Secure Microcontroller (MAXQ1050) Rowley Development Environment Setup

Quality and Environmental Data

Product Reliability Reports: MAXQ1050.pdf 
Lead-Free Package Tin (Sn) Whisker Reports

Related Resources