GlobalPlatform launched its latest specifications for the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE).
The organization has released two new specifications primarily for use by software developers working within the TEE space. The “TEE Systems Architecture v1.0” explains the hardware and software architectures behind the TEE, while the “TEE Internal API Specification v1.0” specifies how to develop trusted applications.
Both documents, which are free to download from the organization’s website, build on the foundation established by GlobalPlatform in 2010 with the release of the “TEE Client API Specification v1.0,” which outlines the communication between applications running in an operating system and trusted applications residing in the TEE.
The TEE is a secure area that resides in the main processor of devices such as smart phones and ensures that sensitive data is stored, processed and protected in a trusted environment. According to GlobalPlatform, the TEE’s importance lies in its ability to bridge the gap between the operating system (such as Android, Windows Phone and Symbian) and the secure element (SE), offering safe execution of authorized security services, e.g. mobile financial services, content protection for digital rights management (DRM) and enterprise services.
GlobalPlatform is currently working to standardize the technology to ensure an open and interoperable ecosystem for mobile services. This includes the launch later this year of a compliance program that will test and qualify the functional aspects of a TEE.
“There are two central reasons why the TEE exists: firstly, more mobile services are emerging that require a greater level of security and secondly, with an increased number of users there is a greater need to protect against viruses and malware,” said Christophe Colas, GlobalPlatform Device Committee Chair. “GlobalPlatform and its members are working to develop a neutral TEE framework to provide greater certainty and lower the cost of advancing this technology by removing interoperability barriers.”
Colas added that in addition to releasing TEE specifications and launching a compliance program, GlobalPlatform is also developing security certification specifications to allow independent parties to prove the security level of a TEE.