GlobalPlatform streamlines security certification process for secure mobile applications

GlobalPlatform, the international organisation which standardises the management of applications on secure chip technology, has advanced its Composition Model, which streamlines the security evaluation of NFC contactless mobile applications.

A composite product consists of an open platform (such as a secure element [SEs]), with one or more secure applications, and optionally one or more basic applications. As SEs in mobile devices begin to host multiple applications, it is important that all applications perform as intended and do not interfere with the other services being delivered.

The GlobalPlatform Composition Model, which was first released in 2011, defines a relatively easy approach to certify the security of SE products that carry sensitive and/or basic applications and simplify post-issuance application management.

The model achieves this by promoting two key concepts: re-using existing security evaluation results and limiting security evaluation work to only test the impact of new application and SE combinations.

The streamlined methodology enables the telecom and payment industries to more easily redeploy SEs and applications once they have been certified.

Adding to its initial work in this area, GlobalPlatform has recently released The Card Composition Model Security Guidelines for Basic Applications v1.0, which proposes a minimal set of guidelines for basic applications. Adhering to these guidelines will protect sensitive applications, other applications, and the SE. It supports industry players using this model for the first time.

Gil Bernabeu, GlobalPlatform technical director, comments: “Most of the applications we have on our mobile handsets today have low security requirements.”

“Security evaluation can be expensive and time consuming and while it is imperative that the industry adheres to the highest security standards, it is important that products can be brought to market quickly. GlobalPlatform’s work in this area aims to streamline the security testing process.”

The Card Composition Model has been developed in association with EMVCo – the EMV standards body, and GSMA – which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide.

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