Tuesday, April 11, 2006

IBM Touts Chip-Level Mobile Security

eWeek reports on IBM's "Secure Blue," security architecture that "can be built into a microprocessor chip to provide defense features previously unseen in such embedded components and more common in mainframe computers." IBM claims "the chip encryption process allows for increased security for both the processors on which it is added, and the entire devices the chips are used in." IBM is targeting mobile phones and PDAs as well as "machines used in vertical applications for the health care and government sectors, and in digital media players."

Neil Strother at NPD Group thought that "such embedded security controls might appeal to business customers as well, particularly those using smart phones." He said, "Device level security is something that you'd have to think might appeal to enterprises pretty strongly; if IBM can push [Secure Blue] into enough chip sets, I think that manufacturers could react pretty strongly. As mobile devices become more PC-like and carry more data, the risk over losing the economic and corporate information on those handhelds will become even more significant."

Strother added, "The mobile threat may be a little hyped at this point, as there haven't been any big attacks, but it's not for all the wrong reasons like selling software. Sooner or later when something does happen, these vendors phones will start ringing off the hook, it's a big market opportunity, and they want to be able to say that if you listened to them it could have been prevented, and that may just be the case."