Securing mobile terminals for the future

Alves, Tiago
April 2005
Portable Design;Apr2005, Vol. 11 Issue 4, p18
This paper emphasizes the importance of security in the design of portable terminals. Increasing content value is driven by new 3G networks, and high-value content such as video clips, premium music content, sports, and news are seen as a big part of that. Content providers have long been requesting an environment where they can securely distribute their premium content and are waiting for the security to be ready. The problem is that software-based security is liable to attack through compromised hardware and software such as viruses, while custom hardware-assisted solutions increase the power budget. A third approach is to include hardware within existing system-onchip (SoC) devices to make the whole system secure. The problem so far has been a lack of a common framework for this approach. The success of the ARM processor architecture in the portable market opens up the opportunity for an integrated software-hardware approach. The TrustZone technology in the ARM architecture provides a secure virtual processor without adding significantly to the terminal's cost or power consumption. Extensions to the instructions in the processor, coupled with selected hardware at various points in the chip that act as gatekeepers, restrict access to memory and registers when the chip is in secure mode.


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