Security and eMMC

Posted by: Thom Denholm

The JEDEC eMMC 4.4 specification added two variations to the basic erase command for data security. These were: Secure Erase - A command indicating a secure purge should be performed on an erase group. The specification states that this should be done not only to the data in this erase group but also on any copies of this data in separate erase groups. This command must be executed immediately, and the eMMC device will not return control to the host until all necessary erase groups are purged. One erase group is the minimum block of memory that can be erased on a particular NAND flash. Secure Trim - Similar to Secure Erase, this command operates on write blocks instead of erase groups. To handle this properly, the specification breaks this into two steps. The first step marks blocks for secure purge, and this can be done to multiple sets of blocks before the second step is called. The second step is an erase with a separate bit flag sequence that performs all the requested secure trims. This feature was changed in the eMMC 4.5 specification, due out later this year, and neither of these commands will be functional. To properly handle this change and allow a board design to support multiple types of eMMC parts, the file system or driver will have have a built in flexibility. The alternative, assuming both eMMC vendor drivers work in the design, is still a complete recoding phase and full software test cycle.

Learn How Datalight is Supporting eMMC


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