Crypto booster tech for mobile phones

Quicker security checks

Discretix, the Israeli embedded-security specialist, yesterday launched an upgraded version of Cryptocell, its encryption technology for mobile phones.

The technology includes a co-processor, security software and device drivers designed to optimise the delivery of encryption onto resource-constrained mobile phones.

Discretix markets its wares as enabling technology for an emerging range of mobile applications. The technology can be customised for apps such as DRM, over-the-air device management clients, VPN clients, secure storage and device anti-theft products (Secure SIM and IMEI blocking).

Handsets featuring CryptoCell produce a faster response to applications that depend on encryption and/or require secure authentication, for example mobile commerce transactions, Discretix says.

Ericsson Mobile Platforms, an existing user of Discretix' technology, has licensed the latest version of CryptoCell for integration into its new handset platform design.

Gal Saloman, chief executive of Discretix, told The Register that 12-15 handsets feature its crypto technology. These devices include phones from Sony Ericsson and other manufacturers, some of which will be declared publicly during the forthcoming 3GSM conference.

Over the last year mobile operators have become more interesting in selling content over mobile phones, providing access to corporate calendaring and performing firmware upgrades over the air. This requirement has led to a need to hardware-based security from handset manufacturers.

Without improvements in security the industry risks repeating the cracks to games for Nokia NGage the accompanied the high-profile release of the integrated phone / gaming device last year, Saloman warned. NGage's protection technology was software based and therefore less secure than a hardware-based system, Discretix argues.

Discretix is a member of the Symbian Platinum Program and its technology also supports Linux. Saloman said Discretix is "still waiting for its first Microsoft customer".

"We'd love to help but we're not seeing much traction in the market," he added.

Discretix also provides security technology for PDAs and storage cards. By contrast to mobile phones this is an area where demand for Discretix' security technology for Microsoft-based devices is far more tangible. ®

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