G&D | Trusted Mobile Services for All?



Trusted Mobile Services
for All?

The Smartphone Challenge

Performing bank transactions, using private apps, and accessing the company network

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TEE

TEE offers new protection for mobile devices.

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The Experts

Questions for G&D's Chief Technology Office

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New security for mobile services

No doubt: Smartphones play a vital role in many users' lives today, and it is difficult to imagine how life was without them. Yet there is a significant stumbling block on the road to much higher acceptance and usage of many services offered today: security concerns.

Only one third of smartphone users believe that information stored or transmitted by their mobile device is secure.

Mass circulation boosts cybercrime

Smartphone penetration in many countries has already passed the 50 % mark. The world's smartphone subscribers will download about 36 billion apps in 2012, according to an industry analyst forecast. This huge market for private and professional applications makes these devices particularly attractive for cybercrime. The paradox is that it is precisely this development into a mass product that poses a threat to the future acceptance of mobile services.

Why? Because of a vast range of applications available in app stores, and because as mobile app usage increases compared to web usage, so too does the potential for misuse of the data and information that the devices receive, store, and send, which has increased dramatically in recent months.

Mobile banking is a prime example of this. Smartphone users check their bank account three times more often than web users. Therewith, frequent usage combined with the possibility of handling bank transactions via mobile devices has also developed into a highly attractive market for hackers and criminals. Cyberattacks on smartphone data and applications demonstrate that misuse of data is not just possible, but already a real issue.

Mobile Banking, a service with mass market appeal, is hindered from becoming a widely accepted banking sales channel due to security concerns. At the same time, banks need to offer their services via different screens, firstly to escape inherent cost pressures, but also to cater for the needs of different lifestyles.

Effective protection through isolation

The current boom in mobile communication devices undeniably requires a corresponding paradigm shift in their security features. Users of smart mobile devices download and install more and more applications from open application markets. This means that the rich OS (e.g. Android) and applications running on top of it are becoming more and more vulnerable to security threats. The dilemma is that existing mobile device security, such as secure elements (SEs) are not covering the main application processor. Here, a promising technology is emerging: the principle of processing security-sensitive data in an entirely isolated and secured environment on the devices. The result is a dedicated, secure runtime, in parallel with the open, non-secured runtime - a highly secure zone, which is called TEE (Trusted Execution Environment). The key advantage is that users retain full flexibility to deploy new applications and data on their smartphones at any time, keeping this category of devices attractive and cost-efficient. From a security perspective, security-sensitive parts of applications can be stored and executed in the secure zone, TEE As the main application processor controls the communication with hardware peripherals, such as touchscreen or GPS module, these components can also be secured. As a secure runtime, TEE is launched during the startup process of the smart device (boot process), and basic device security mechanisms can also be supported (Device Security Management). Devices equipped with TEE through the G&D Trusted Service Manager (“TSM”), can be accessed in the field in order to securely bring secure applications to the device and manage them.


TEE

  • Secure applications
  • Secure hardware peripherals, e.g. secure screen, secure touch
  • Enable overall device security


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