ARM Holdings In New Security Venture
December 18, 2012

ARM Holdings Joins In New Mobile Security Venture

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

As mobile technology grows and becomes an ever present part of modern life, there are some concerns that security has not stayed in step with these advancements. Though these mobile devices are technically capable of acting as digital wallets as well as sending and receiving payments, it´s not always safe to do so. As we are still in the early days of modern mobile technology, there´s still the feeling that we´re in the lawless, old west days of innovation.

As such, UK microchip designer ARM Holdings has announced they´re participation in a joint venture business which hopes to match the advancements to security with the advancements to technology.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the new venture will be called “Trustonic” and will also include Gemalto and Giesecke & Devrient as partners.

There are many dangers which face mobile devices today. Hackers and cyberthieves could log away a bank account or credit card number when monetary transactions are taking place. Worse, a hacker could gain access to the devices innermost components and either enlist the device into a botnet or track the device and all the activity which takes place on it. Trustonic´s plan is a simple one: Isolate an area of the device´s microchip, making it “invisible” as it has no interaction with the rest of the outside world. This technology will be based on ARM´s existing Trustzone technology which can be written into the hardware of any mobile device. Giesecke and Gemalto offer software which works with the Trustzone technology, enabling it on various devices.

This joint venture will now work to roll out the technology and the implementation, enabling ARM devices with the hardware and rolling out a standard to banks and other places where e-commerce takes place. Trustonic´s Chief Executive Ben Cade told the Wall Street Journal that each of the three companies will invest “tens of millions” of dollars to roll out this product. Cade also hopes their product will soon become the standard for all secure mobile-authentication systems on smart devices.

In an interview with Reuters, Cade explained that their technology could eliminate the need for many of today´s modern authentication devices, such as Secure ID tags and bank card readers. In addition to being a more secure platform, Cade also says their product will allow these processes to happen more quickly. According to Cade, the average e-commerce transaction takes 2 and a half minutes to complete. With Trustonic´s new system, this could be cut down to 7 seconds.

"It will enable us to trust our smart connected devices to protect us as they deliver essential services and innovative user experiences," said Cade.

ARM produces microchips for many of today´s most popular smart devices, such as products from Apple and Microsoft. As such, these chips could not only bring this kind of security to an immediate and wide audience, it could create an even wider lead between ARM and rivals Intel and Qualcomm.

Trustonic had been announced earlier in April  and was set to begin operations in the summer. Some regulatory delays held up the company´s operations until today. According to the Journal, ARM will take 40% stake in the company with Giesecke and Gemalto each taking 30%.