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Senior Editor, Network World

With blue-chip backing, joint venture firm looks to embed crypto technology in mobile devices, electronic payments

Dec 18, 20123 mins
AndroidData and Information SecuritySamsung Electronics

The London-based firm Trustonic made its official debut today to provide crypto-based technology for use in chips for a wide variety of purposes, including enterprise security such as VPNs, mobile-device security, payment services, and control over how content can be delivered for entertainment.

Trustonic is a joint venture formed by three partners: semiconductor technology company ARM along with security firm Gemalto, which specializes in smart cards, as well as Germany-based security company Giesecke & Devrient (G&D), active in the financial industry.

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According to Trustonic’s Chief Technology Officer Jon Geater, the joint venture was created to put forward crypto-based technology embedded in integrated circuits that can be turned on to enable many types of security functions, such as secure encryption key storage in mobile devices or electronic payments or in television set-top boxes.

“For the enterprise, the value is coming from other applications from companies such as Good, Symantec and Wave Systems,” said Geater, pointing to some of the many industry partners that today endorsed Trustonic’s approach, which Geater described as a security “operating system” of sorts that can be used built on ARM’s TrustZone technology.

“Symantec supports Trustonic in its efforts to enable security solutions to leverage higher levels of security in mobile devices,” said Stephen Trilling, CTO at Symantec. “With the new standards proposed, Symantec can incorporate these higher levels of security into our products and services to make it even safer for employees, partners and consumers to use their phones and tablets in handling confidential and private information.”

Mobile-device management software vendor Good Technology also expressed backing for Trustonic, with Good’s Senior ViceA President of Special Markets Michael Mahan, saying, “Given our focus, our partnership with Trustonic is a natural extension of creating a more advanced and simplified mobile world. We are excited to work with Trustonic and leverage their innovative TrustZone technology to further unleash the power of mobility for today’s companies, governments and consumers.”

Geater noted that Samsung has already adopted Trustonic technology in its latest Google Android Galaxy S III and Note II mobile devices. However, he acknowledged that mobile-device giant Apple is not a Trustonic backer at present.

MasterCard also announced support for Trustonic, with James Anderson, group head and senior vice president of mobile product development, saying MasterCard is “keen to explore the potential for Trustonic’s technology and services” for use in mass-market payments.

Other expressing enthusiasm for Trustonic included Sprint, as well as several security firms, including Wave Systems, Inside Secure and Discretix, plus 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Trustonic, based in London, has about 100 employees in countries that also include France, Germany and Finland. Though its roots are in Europe, Geater emphasized that Trustonic’s goal is to have its technology used globally.

Trustonic is headed up by CEO Ben Cade, a former executive of ARM Ltd., and Chris Jones, chief operations officer and previously vice president licensing, processor division for ARM. Stephan Spitz, Trustonic’s executive vice president of engineering, has joined from G&D.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: @MessmerE. Email:

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