Medical devices are a critical and integral part of patient care – from monitoring blood pressure and oxygenation to providing life support. The adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) into the medical devices industry has brought many advances to the field, such as connecting devices in ambulances to emergency rooms to enable early treatment and better diagnostics. The increasing number of connected devices, however, has also brought serious risks.
A cyber-attack on a hospital could have devastating implications should devices be tampered with to malfunction or leak confidential patient records. Patients could be harmed, or valuable information could be used for financial gain of criminals. With such high stakes, it is imperative that medical devices are safe and secure, starting at the heart of the system.
At the architectural level, Xilinx devices possess several capabilities that provide a secure solution. These capabilities include bit stream encryption to prevent unauthorized modification of the bit stream, along with anti-tamper capabilities provided by the System Monitor which enables supply rails and device temperature to be monitored and alarms raised if events occur. In the case of Xilinx SoCs, the secure boot ensures the integrity (SHA3), confidentiality (AES) and authenticity (RSA) of the boot stream. Developers can also leverage the Arm® Trust Zone and hypervisors on the processor cores to present secure and unsecure worlds to the external internet, limiting the ability of programs running on the processor. Additionally, IP like Xilinx Security Monitor (SecMon) can detect post-configuration tampering and make the system inaccessible to hackers.
Xilinx also offers functional safety certified hardware and software, compliant with standards such as IEC61508 (the international standard for safety-related systems). Certified design methodologies enable integration of safety and non-safety functions in the same device. Isolation Design Flow (IDF) and Vivado Isolation Verifier (VIV) / Isolation Verification Tools (IVT) provide a certified methodology to separate areas on a single device. Designs placed into these regions are physically isolated. The areas can be changed at any time without impacting other isolated regions, proven by the VIV/IVT tools (impact analysis).
Beyond providing a safe and secure solution, Xilinx’s range of FPGAs and SoCs provide significant system advantages. The flexibility of programmable logic enables developers to implement high-performance processing pipelines which demonstrate increased determinism and latency. The flexibility of the programmable logic I/O provides the ability to interface easily with the wide range of diverse sensors and actuators needed for many medical applications. Additionally, in Xilinx SoCs the processor system can be used to provide network communications and graphical user interfaces.
Medical professionals are increasingly dependent on technology to monitor and diagnose medical issues. These devices must be both safe and secure from external malicious modification or access. Xilinx is committed to both safety and security with support via standards-certified hardware and software, while providing performance advantages.