Toro and G&D to develop microSD-based secure financial services

Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) has teamed up with Hong Kong-based NFC specialist Toro to develop a range of mobile financial applications based on G&D’s microSD format Mobile Security Card and Toro’s Akami mobile platform.

“Both companies are contributing their respective expertise in hardware, firmware, middleware, mobile software, and system architecture to create a platform offering system integrators, financial service providers, and retailers fast time to market for a proven secure mobile solution,” says the official announcement.

The companies say that the collaboration is designed to bring to market “a series of stand-alone solutions for secure applications that will not necessarily evolve toward near field communication (NFC), such as mobile banking, mobile remittance and mobile ATM.”

The Mobile Security Card includes a range of security features — but does not incorporate an NFC antenna. Instead, it is designed to secure access to data held on, and accessed by, smartphones.

Inserted into the microSD card slot on mobile devices, the Mobile Security Card handles user authentication as well as encryption and signature operations as an independent cryptomodule. In a two-factor process, the user authenticates himself to the Mobile Security Card and only gains access to the mobile device if the information matches.

On BlackBerry smartphones the card integrates itself in the BlackBerry Device Software 5.0 and handles user-friendly encryption and signature of email traffic and the device memory. “With their combination of security and user-friendliness, BlackBerry smartphones featuring this operating system version will provide significant added value in professional corporate use,” says G&D.

The Mobile Security Card is supplied by G&D SFS (Secure Flash Solutions), a joint venture between Giesecke & Devrient and Phison Electronics. The latest version, the Mobile Security Card SE 1.0, launched last week. The device has 2GB of memory and uses version 5.0 of the Sm@rtCafé Expert smart card operating system, certified by Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). The card’s hardware conforms to the Common Criteria (CC) EAL 5+ security standard, and the software meets the requirements of CC EAL 4+. It runs on MS Windows Mobile, BlackBerry Device Software, Symbian, Android and Linux and is also compatible with Windows and Linux PC platforms for use in netbooks and notebooks.

“G&D SFS offers secure microSD cards as one among a number of secure elements on the mobile phone,” explains Laurent Renard, CEO of Toro. “This is a strong sign to the financial industry that their applications can securely run on mobile. Independently from the longer-term agreements that banks and mobile network operators (MNOs) may be putting in place in preparation of NFC, banks can already educate their customers to use their mobile as a secure terminal for their daily banking operations.”

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