Trusted Computing Group announces Open Specification for Mobile Phone Security

By | September 13, 2006

The Trusted Computing Group´s Mobile Phone Work Group has announced a draft Mobile Trusted Module specification. This open and available specification will enable the development of stronger security, enhanced privacy and reduced risk of loss and theft for mobile phone users and providers of handsets and services.

The Mobile Trusted Module (MTM) Specification assumes the implementation of a mobile phone as a set of trusted engines, or places that manipulate data, within the device. Each engine can be trusted to report accurately its state so its trustworthiness can be established. The specification envisions that phones will include multiple trusted engines, each addressing specific functions including the device, cellular service, applications and user services.

Each engine will have access to Trusted Services, which measures code modules and stores measurements in the Mobile Trusted Module, a protected area of the phone. The MTM can be implemented in a number of ways, since the TCG specification defines functionality but not implementation. For example, the MTM could take the form of a discrete silicon chip or a system-on-a-chip implementation. The form factor will be determined by vendors and their customers.

The draft MTM Specification includes key attributes of the widely deployed Trusted Platform Module (TPM) specification, which has been deployed in chips shipped in tens of millions of PCs. For example, the specification provides for protection of sensitive information, immune against virtual or physical tampering. These areas typically can store digital keys, certificates and passwords and support integrity checks of the device to measure its health and whether its state has changed.

Implementation of the draft MTM specification is complimentary with existing mobile phone components, including the SIM, USIM and UICC cards, and with specifications from industry organizations such as 3GPP, Open Mobile Alliance, Open Mobile Terminal Platform, and the Mobile Industry Processor Interface Alliance, to ensure that the work of TCG is complementary and extends security benefits rather than reinventing them.

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