EU funds mobile security standards project

Having decided only last week to help fund the future development of the Symbian OS, the EU has now stepped forward again and backed a project to define security standards for smartphones and tablets within Europe.

The project, named Sepia (Secure Embedded Platform with Process Isolation and Anonymity), is targeted at securing mobile devices as they increasingly become involved with m-payment, mobile banking and other activities that require privacy like social networking.

The project, which is being led by ARM, Infineon, Brightsight and Giesecke & Devrient (G&D)--with Austria's Graz University of Technology acting as coordinator--will look to build on work already undertaken with ARM's Trustzone technology.

Using Trustzone and G&D's MobilCore as the foundation, Sepia plans to establish standards and a certification process to provide security measures beyond preventing malware and the illegal access to identity and authentication data.

"Sepia addresses an ever more pressing security problem that is receiving increased attention on the European level, especially regarding mobile applications like ebanking," said Herbert Reul, chair of the European Parliament committee on Industry, Research and Energy, in a statement.

The security threat to mobile devices is still relatively low today with only around 500 families of mobile-specific malware identified in the past six years. However, most observers are forecasting hackers to target smartphones and tablets increasingly as consumers and enterprises adopt them for 'PC-like' use.

While the EU was announcing this initiative, Vodafone launched its Smartphone Professional service aimed at securing business users' corporate data.

The service, which will work with Android, Windows and Nokia devices, uses software from Good Technology to provide over-the-air and on-device encryption of business data such as email, calendar and contacts.

For more:
- see this Rethink Wireless article
- see this Mobile Today article

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