ARM to Bake On-Die Security Into Next Gen Smartphone, Tablet, PC Cores
April 3, 2012 1:13 PM
Hardware-enabled security will fight traditional Windows malware, growing mobile malware epidemic
Many were surprised when Intel Corp. (
), the world's largest chipmaker, scooped up
veteran security firm McAfee
in August 2010. While the fit of hardware company plus software vendor seemed an odd equation, it began to make sense when put in the context of growing interest in
hardware-based security solutions
Even as Intel has moved to put some of those designs on-die with technologies like Trusted Execution, one of the chipmaker's top rivals -- architecture and intellectual property (IP) core licenser ARM Holdings plc (
) -- has announced a brand new hardware security initiative of its own.
ARM already has baked a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) solution dubbed "ARM TrustZone" into every one of its ARM Cortex A-Series cores, such as those found in Apple, Inc.'s (
) iPhone or the Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
) Galaxy Nexus. The key now is to enable the hardware capabilities with supported software and operating system solutions.
To that end ARM is pairing with Giesecke & Devrient, makers of a custom heavily sandboxed, remotely manageable TEE operating system dubbed "
". As an alternative to iOS or Android, companies could flash employee handsets with Mobicore, which is now being accelerated and enabled directly by hardware, thanks to the new partnership.
Mobicore is a new highly secured, highly manageable mobile operating system, which runs on ARM's latest processors. [Image Source: Gi-De]
ARM has also paired with Gemalto NV (
), another security-oriented service provider. Gemalto will aim to enable secure transactions for "traditional" mobile operating systems, such as Android. Using the TEE hardware, Gemalto can deliver encrypted key validated movie or TV show rentals to a smartphone, tablet, or ARM laptop.
and making it easier to establish secure wireless data connections, ARM's new security muscle is helping make its smartphones and tablets safer for IT businesses. It will also open new capabilities for ARM as it races to
challenge Intel in the personal computer space
later this year.
ARM describes the new effort writing:
Devices with a TEE will provide consumers with more secure, user-friendly experiences that simplify and speed up how they interact with their digital world. This will enable them to use their smart, connected devices more frequently to access an increasing range of applications and services in a secure way. This includes mobile payment, enterprise productivity and mobile banking applications, as well as online commerce and premium content services.
Warren East, CEO of ARM stated, "The integration of the hardware, software and services necessary for system-wide security has been slow. I am confident that this new joint venture will accelerate the adoption of a common security standard, enabling a vibrant ecosystem of secure service providers to emerge. This will be of significant step in terms of improved consumer trust in secure transactions on connected devices."
The three companies (Gi-De, Gemalto, and ARM Holdings) will operate a joint venture together, to develop new kinds of ARM core security solutions.
Giesecke & Devrient
"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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