Tech giants launch mobile security specifications

The Trusted Mobile Platform, produced by Intel, IBM and NTT DoCoMo, aims to make handsets and PDAs safe for mobile commerce
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor on
Intel, IBM and NTT DoCoMo have launched a security technology for mobile devices which they claim will bolster m-commerce services.

The specification, called the 'Trusted Mobile Platform', consists of hardware and software components and protocols which the three companies say form a "trusted execution environment" for devices such as handsets and PDAs.

"Through tamper-resistant modules and by enabling domain separation, a trusted platform will be able to protect data from potential viruses spreading from one application to the next," the three companies said in an announcement on Wednesday.

"In addition, the authorisation and management protocols provide companies with higher levels of security for wireless delivery of new software to employees."

The Trusted Mobile Platform includes a protocol which will allow the security state of a device to be shared with other devices on a network. If implemented, this could help IT managers to ensure that colleagues who access the corporate network over a mobile device are complying with the security settings of that network.

Mobile security is a growing challenge. As mobile devices become more complex, there are greater opportunities for malicious hackers and virus writers. Back in July a proof of concept virus was discovered which infected the Windows CE operating system -- used in some smartphones and other handheld devices.

The Trusted Mobile Platform will only be a success if it is supported by manufactures and network operators, who may have different ideas about what is needed. In August Nokia announced it was working with Swedish security company Pointsec Mobile Technologies to develop an encryption tool for high-end phones.

The fact that the specification is billed as an open architecture should aid adoption. It is now open to industry review, and can be seen at trusted-mobile.org.

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