GlobalPlatform, the standard for secure digital services and devices, has reported a 25 percent increase in the number of Trusted Execution Environment (TEE)-enabled processors being shipped quarterly, year-on-year. At this rate, it is expected some 10 billion devices will feature TEE-enabled processors by the end of 2018.

The TEE is not a new concept, and standardisation of the technology has been driven by our organisation to support mass market deployment,” explains GlobalPlatform’s Technical Director, Gil Bernabeu. “The fragmentation caused by the deployment of proprietary TEEs makes life hard for app and service developers as they need to launch and maintain multiple versions of their apps and evaluate the security of each TEE platform.

This is resource intensive and unsustainable. Our specifications and certification program give device manufacturers a standardised way to embed security that meets the needs of service providers; app developers assurance that services will be protected from attacks; and end users confidence that their data is safe.

Balancing user experience with security

The TEE isolates trusted applications, keeping them away from any malware in the device OS and separate from other apps stored in the TEEEnterprise IT environments, delivery of premium multimedia content, mobile payments, the internet of things, enterprise and government identification programs and more seek to balance user experience with security. The TEE isolates trusted applications, keeping them away from any malware in the device OS and separate from other apps stored in the TEE. Because of this, the TEE is an essential environment within all devices as the secure services market evolves.

By 2025, the installed base of IoT devices will be over 75.4B devices. GlobalPlatform technology is implemented across a wide range of markets globally, including payments, telecoms, transportation, automotive, smart cities, smart home, utilities, healthcare, premium content, government, and enterprise ID. Protected devices include connected cars, set top boxes, smartphones, tablets, wearables, and other IoT devices.

To enable device manufacturers to proactively market their products as meeting the needs of digital service providers, GlobalPlatform manages functional and security certification programs for TEEs. These objectively illustrate that a device manufacturer’s GlobalPlatform-based secure component and digital service management capabilities are interoperable and meet required security levels, providing reassurance that it will protect digital services and enable them to perform as intended in the field.

Ensuring appropriate level of security

Device manufacturers and service providers must work together to ensure suitable security is the foundation of end-user services"Device manufacturers and service providers must work together to ensure suitable security is the foundation of end-user services,” adds Kevin Gillick, Executive Director of GlobalPlatform. “GlobalPlatform technology empowers stakeholders to interact seamlessly when deploying digital services, regardless of industry, sector or device type. This resulting collaboration makes mass marketing of digital services possible, while ensuring the appropriate level of security and supporting privacy requirements.

Last month, GlobalPlatform announced it had conservatively calculated that more than 5.5 billion Secure Elements (SEs) deployed in 2017 were based on its specifications, an increase of over 1.5 billion from the previous year. Additionally, over the last three years, in excess of 1 billion SEs were embedded within mobile devices, 100% of which were based on GlobalPlatform technology.

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