Ericsson puts security in smartphones

Smartphones to come with built-in security

Swedish phone manufacturer Ericsson Tuesday has revealed plans to make its Internet-enabled mobile phones secure for digital transactions, with the announcement that it will embed digital certificates from Irish encryption company Baltimore.

The leading European manufacturer of mobile devices says that Baltimore root certificates will be embedded into all except the first batch of its existing smartphone, the R380, and will be included with its forthcoming GPRS device, the R580, enabling secure wireless transactions.

These certificates use encryption to identify a phone user to an mobile Internet site and establish a secure channel for communications.

According to Ericsson, it is possible to upgrade the software in the earliest R380s -- released before Christmas -- to include Baltimore's encryption technology, although this will depend on agreements with individual operators.

Mobile digital money promises to be a lucrative technology once it has advanced enough to be simple and secure enough for customers to use. Ericsson has taken a particular interest in the area, recently unveiling plans with IBM to develop secure methods for banks and other financial services companies to carry out mobile transactions.

Security will undoubtedly be a key factor in gaining consumer confidence in carrying out transactions over the airwaves. Baltimore, a well-established provider of encryption security, has seen success in this area, recently signing a deal to provide security for i-mode phones in Japan.

"The inclusion of Baltimore digital certificates in our new phones allows early introduction of secure mobile transactions enabling the phone to become a personal trusted device," says Bo Albertson, marketing director of communications for Ericsson Mobile Communications, in a statement.

In January, following poor results, Ericsson announced it will outsource handset manufacturing to one of world's largest electronics manufacturers, Flextronics International.

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