Crime fighters welcome mobile security requirements

James Middleton

May 22, 2008

2 Min Read
Crime fighters welcome mobile security requirements

An operator led community that recommends mobile terminal requirements on Thursday released a detailed set of recommendations setting the baseline for hardware security in mobile devices for the next five to ten years.

The 200 page recommendation from the Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) alliance looks at a number of key ways to protect mobile devices as they begin to support more advanced features such as pay per view TV and m-commerce.

The document also underpins key virus and malware protection in phones provided by a series of tools and mechanisms known as the Application Security Framework, which addresses technical areas such as Secure Data Storage for protecting sensitive information, Trusted Execution Environments for isolating and protecting sensitive software, Flexible Secure Boot and Runtime Integrity Checking for detecting whether the device has been tampered with, and Secure User Input / Output to ensure the integrity of data on user interfaces.

The recommendations were welcomed by UK Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, who said: “I am pleased that the mobile industry continues to show its commitment to enhance the security of mobile phones and in particular that a key part of the OMTP requirements is increasing hardware security so that hackers cannot profit from stolen phones by changing their unique identity”.

Research released by industry analyst Datamonitor on Thursday revealed that the majority of businesses rate security as the greatest barrier to adoption of mobility solutions.

Whereas traditionally, enterprises have allocated devices such as the BlackBerry to employees to enable them to check their email and be responsive when they are away from the office, other mobile devices like the iPhone are becoming increasingly popular among end users. Enterprises are finding that employees will attempt to integrate their personal device with their corporate email account and other applications whether authorised to or not.

As a result, IT managers need to implement mobile device policies as ever more enterprises look to expand their mobile workforces. “Enterprises are fighting a losing battle against employees when it comes to mobile devices and they should consider supporting a limited selection of devices rather than banning them outright”, said Daniel Okubo, technology analyst with Datamonitor. “Allowing a range of the most popular devices will improve employee satisfaction and encourage more of them to embrace mobile devices and improve their productivity when away from the office.”

Detective Superintendent Mick McNally, head of the UK’s National Mobile Phone Crime unit, said, “Technology is increasing at an incredible rate. We need to ensure that the incentives for people to steal mobile phones are taken away. This is a continual process and the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit will continue to work closely with industry on ensuring that future technologies such as m-commerce are secured against future threats”.

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of | Follow him @telecomsjames

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