The i.MX6 processor offers hardware encryption through NXP’s Cryptographic Accelerator and Assurance Module (CAAM, also known as SEC4). The CAAM combines functions to create a modular and scalable acceleration and assurance engine.


The CAAM supports:

  • Secure memory feature with hardware-enforced access control

  • Cryptographic authentication

    • Hashing algorithms

      • MD5

      • SHA-1

      • SHA-224

      • SHA-256

    • Message authentication codes (MAC)

      • HMAC with all hashing algorithms

      • AES-CMAC

      • AES-XCBC-MAC

    • Auto padding

    • ICV checking

  • Authenticated encryption algorithms

    • AES-CCM (counter with CBC-MAC)

  • Symmetric key block ciphers

    • AES (128-bit, 192-bit or 256-bit keys)

    • DES (64-bit keys, including key parity)

    • 3DES (128-bit or 192-bit keys, including key parity)

    • Cipher modes

      • ECB, CBC, CFB, OFB for all block ciphers

      • CTR for AES

  • Symmetric key stream ciphers

    • ArcFour (Alleged RC4 with 40 - 128 bit keys)

  • Random-number generation

    • Entropy is generated via an independent free-running ring oscillator

    • For lower-power consumption, oscillator is off when not generating entropy

    • NIST-compliant, pseudo random-number generator seeded using hardware-generated entropy

Kernel configuration

You can manage the CAAM support through the following kernel configuration options.

Cryptographic API (CRYPTO) → Hardware crypto devices (CRYPTO_HW) → Freescale CAAM-Multicore driver backend (CRYPTO_DEV_FSL_CAAM)

These options are enabled as built-in on the ConnectCore 6 SBC kernel configuration file.

Kernel driver

The CAAM drivers are located at drivers/crypto/caam:

File Description


CAAM control-plane driver backend


CAAM/SEC 4.x functions for handling key-generation jobs


NXP FSL CAAM support for crypto API


NXP FSL CAAM support for hash functions of crypto API


NXP FSL CAAM support for general memory keyblob encryption and decryption


NXP FSL CAAM support for hw_random


CAAM secure memory storage interface


SNVS security violation handler


CAAM/SEC 4.x functions for handling key-generation jobs

Device tree bindings and customization

The CAAM device tree binding is documented at Documentation/devicetree/bindings/crypto/fsl-sec4.txt.

User space usage

True Random Number Generator (TRNG)

Digi Embedded Yocto uses the hardware TRNG inside the CAAM to feed both /dev/random and /dev/urandom. Applications should use /dev/random and /dev/urandom as normal.

Cryptographic authentication

You can list the encryption algorithms supported by the system with cat /proc/crypto:

~# cat /proc/crypto
name : cbc(aes)
driver : cbc-aes-caam
module : kernel
priority : 3000
refcnt : 1
selftest : passed
type : ablkcipher
async : yes
blocksize : 16
min keysize : 16
max keysize : 32
ivsize : 16
geniv : eseqiv

For each algorithm you get a set of properties, including:

  • name: the name of the algorithm

  • driver: the driver that provides this support. If the driver contains caam it means the CAAM hardware engine provides support for this encryption algorithm.

  • priority: the higher the value, the higher the priority.  Normally hardware-accelerated algorithms have higher priority over software algorithms.

To verify if an encryption or hashing operation is using the CAAM, you can check the interruption count for the jr (job ring) devices. The example below shows how the interruption count for 2142000.jr1 increases when performing AES CBC encryption with OpenSSL (which uses the CAAM).

~# cat /proc/interrupts  | grep jr
305:          2       GPC 105 Level     2141000.jr0
306:          0       GPC 106 Level     2142000.jr1
307:          0       GPC  46 Level     2143000.jr2
~# openssl enc -in input.txt -out encrypted.bin -e -k mypassword -aes-128-cbc
~# cat /proc/interrupts  | grep jr
305:          2       GPC 105 Level     2141000.jr0
306:        116       GPC 106 Level     2142000.jr1
307:          0       GPC  46 Level     2143000.jr2

Digi Embedded Yocto uses the cryptodev user space support that, in turn, uses the crypto API in the Linux kernel:

  • Port of the OpenBSD Cryptographic Framework

  • /dev/crypto character device interface

  • Not part of the kernel (must be built out of tree)

The following user space cryptographic libraries use the cryptodev support through /dev/crypto:

  • OpenSSL

  • GnuTLS

The caam_keyblob driver creates a char device under /dev/caam_kb that can be used with the standard Linux API (open, close, ioctl) to perform encryption and decryption of data blobs.