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Embedded System Security for C/C++ Developers ONLINE

Standard Level - 4 sessions (6 hours per session)

This is a LIVE INSTRUCTOR-LED training event delivered ONLINE.

It covers the same scope and content as a scheduled in-person class and delivers comparable learning outcomes.

Embedded microcontrollers have been used for many years within electronic systems, across a huge range of applications from simple environmental monitors through to automotive components and complex consumer appliances. Security issues affecting networked computers running operating systems such as Windows and Linux (including “Embedded Linux”) are well-documented but traditionally, security was not a major concern for many small, microcontroller-based systems. However, the increasing trend to connect devices to a network, both locally and across a wide area (such as the Internet) has sometimes led to security vulnerabilities that were not anticipated by the system designers. Recent developments such as the IoT Security Foundation's Security Assurance Framework and Arm's Platform Security Architecture (PSA) provide guidance to create secure applications for developers with sufficient security proficiency to understand and apply their recommendations.

This course provides an awareness of the security issues affecting microcontroller-based embedded systems and teaches approaches to identify and protect against them. Since many of these systems are developed using the C or C++ programming languages, it looks at how C/C++ should be written to avoid security vulnerabilities. It also considers alternative software and hardware based solutions to ensure that every aspect of the embedded software application from booting, functional operation, data communication and updates is secure. The relevant sections of the Arm PSA and IoTSF Security Assurance Framework are referenced throughout the course and explored in greater detail where appropriate. The course also provides an overview of emerging industry, national and international security standards and introduces techniques for testing security which will be required for certification.

The practical side of the training is based around carefully designed exercises, investigating security features and issues for a real embedded system, to reinforce and challenge the extent of learning and comprise approximately 50% of class time.

If you have specific security application requirements, please contact the Doulos team to discuss your options.

"Embedded System Security for C/C++ Developers" is aimed at electronic hardware, software and system-on-chip engineers who need to gain a working knowledge of the software and hardware security issues affecting a microcontroller-based embedded system.

Note that this is not a course on the security issues affecting embedded Linux applications - delegates wishing to learn more about that topic are recommended to take the Doulos Practical Embedded Linux Security Online course. 

  • Identifying the main security threats and vulnerabilities for an embedded system
  • How to use common encryption and decryption standards for data-at-rest and data-in-motion
  • Key management and use of certificates for authentication
  • How to secure communication with TLS
  • Writing secure C code
  • How to use a coding standard with static analysis tools to identify security issues in C code
  • Using a Secure Software Development methodology and framework. The Arm Platform Security Architecture (PSA) and IoTSF Security Assurance Framework are used as examples but the principles are common to other security frameworks and standards.
  • Embedded system hardware features for security
  • Overview of Security Standards and Compliance
  • Approaches to test security of embedded applications
  • Secure Provisioning Process

Attendees should have:

  • Knowledge of the C or C++ programming language and embedded system architecture. In particular a basic level of familiarity with functions, variables, data types, operators, and statements. The Doulos C Programming for Embedded Systems or C++ Programming for Embedded Systems courses provide appropriate preparation for engineers who lack this experience.
  • Awareness of embedded system architecture (ideally Arm Cortex-M).
  • Experience of using embedded software development tools such as the Eclipse IDE and GDB debugger.


Please contact Doulos directly to discuss and assess your specific experience against the pre-requisites.

Doulos training materials are renowned for being the most comprehensive and user-friendly available. Their style, content and coverage are unique in the Embedded Systems training world, and have made them sought after resources in their own right. The materials include:

  • Fully indexed class notes creating a complete reference manual
  • Workbook full of practical examples and solutions to help you apply your knowledge

Introduction to Security

Why is security necessary • Vulnerabilities, Threats and Attacks • CVE and CWE • Embedded System Security • Embedded Security Frameworks • Arm PSA • PSA Security Model Goals • Overview of Secure Software Development Lifecycle

Writing Secure C/C++ Code 1 – Memory Vulnerabilities and Attacks

Safe use of pointers • Memory allocation and corruption • Buffer overflow • Return Oriented Programming

Writing Secure C/C++ Code 2 – Vulnerabilities and Mitigations

String and format functions • Side Channel Timing Vulnerability • Integer security • Concurrency • TOCTOU • File I/O • Error Handling • Lab - Memory Overflow-based attacks

Secure Software Development Lifecycle

Secure Software Development Lifecycle and Processes • Business Requirements • Maturity Models • Threat modelling • Risk Analysis • CVSS • Attack Trees • Arm PSA • Common Criteria • PSA Analysis Phase • Target of Evaluation • PSA Protection Profile • Security Functional Requirements • Lab – Creating a Threat Model


Encryption and Decryption • Random Number Generators • Block encryption • Block Cipher Modes • AES • Streaming Ciphers • ChaCha20 • Hashes • AEAD
Lab - Message encryption/decryption

Cryptography in Action

Key management • Diffie Hellman, ECDH and RSA Key Exchange • Signing • HMAC • PKCS#1 • Certificate and Certificate Agencies • Pre-shared secrets • Software Provisioning
Lab - Installing and using certificates

Transport Layer Security

Secure communications • IoT Protocols • MQTT • HTTPS • TLS Cipher Suites • TLS Handshake and Record Phases • DTLS • Wireless LAN Security and Threats • Wi-Fi Protocols • Lab – Configuring TLS sockets for secure communications

Rules for Secure Coding

CWE, CVE and NVD • The Role of Coding Standards • CERT C and MISRA-C • Other Coding Standards • Static Analysis • Lab – Detecting security vulnerabilities with static analysis tools

Secure Embedded System Software Architecture

Secure software architecture goals • Traditional guiding principles • Least privilege, trust and secure processes • Side channel & timing attacks • Double HMAC • Security though Isolation • Cortex-M Modes and Privilege • Run-Time Isolation with MPU • Microcontainer Isolation • TrustZone-M • Arm Platform Security Architecture (PSA) • Trusted Boot and Firmware Update • PSA Firmware Framework • PSA APIs • Trusted Firmware-M
Lab – Performing a side-channel timing attack

Secure Embedded System Hardware Architecture

Security Requirements • Unique ID • Secure Storage • Secure Storage Lifetime • Random Number Generators • Hardware Crypto Engine • Hardware Root-of-Trust • Attestation • Secure boot and update • Memory Isolation and Protection • TrustZone SAU and IDAU • Other HW Recommendations • Secure Elements • TPM • HSM • PUF • Secure MCU Architecture

Security Testing and Provisioning

Standards and Regulations • SESIP • PSA Certified • Security Testing Approaches • Unit Tests • Testing Tools • Penetration Testing • Disassembly • Protocol Fuzzing • Side Channel Power Analysis • Secure Provisioning Process

For on-site, team-based training, please contact Doulos about tailoring this course to suit your hardware and software environment.

Course Dates

15 Jul 2024 ONLINE Americas Enquire
22 Jul 2024 ONLINE EurAsia Enquire
09 Sep 2024 ONLINE EurAsia Enquire
16 Sep 2024 ONLINE Americas Enquire
29 Oct 2024 ONLINE Americas Enquire
04 Nov 2024 ONLINE EurAsia Enquire

Looking for team-based training, or other locations?

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