IAR, the global leader in embedded software and services, is pleased to announce v9.40 of the IAR Embedded Workbench for Arm. This latest update introduces an advancement in code security: the integration of the pointer Authentication and Branch Target Identification (PACBTI) extension for Armv8.1-M. With PACBTI, user applications gain protection through the implementation of cryptographic signatures, effectively preventing attackers from taking control of the entire system. The release also features enhanced smart IDE Build Actions, elevating the development experience for software engineers.

Driven by growing demands for safety products due to legislation and regulation, IAR’s latest release addresses the critical need for enhanced code security. Among the notable highlights, the new compiler functions within the IAR Embedded Workbench for Arm complemented by the PACBTI extension and provides a robust defense against two prevalent security exploits: Return-Oriented Programming (ROP) and Jump-Oriented Programming (JOP). Both these techniques involve leveraging existing code segments within the user application. By gaining control of the call stack through methods like stack smashing, attackers overwrite crucial pointers stored in the stack to point, redirecting them towards identified vulnerable code snippets that serve the attacker’s purposes. With the inclusion of these new functions, IAR Embedded Workbench establishes formidable barriers, making it significantly more challenging for attackers to exploit code and compromise system integrity.