Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Elizabeth White, Ed Featherston, Liz McMillan, Derek Weeks, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Mobile IoT, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, Wearables, Cloud Security

Mobile IoT: Article

Securing Mobile Payments

As the mobile payment industry continues to develop at lightning speed, best practices have yet to be solidified

As mobile phones become as indispensable as credit cards for purchasing goods and services, mobile payment developments are quickly gaining pace. Many different service providers are competing for their piece of the action. Within the last year, we have witnessed the arrival of mobile payment solutions such as MasterCard's PayPass, Google's Android-based eWallet scheme and Starbucks' emerging Quick Tap PayPass service.

A study from Juniper Research predicts that mobile contactless payment transactions are to reach nearly $50 billion worldwide in 2014 and NFC solutions will be used in 20 countries within the next 18 months.

However, with the widespread adoption of this technology, there is a need to debate which type of scheme works best and is the most robust.

Setting the Standard
As with traditional payments, standardization is vital. Several effective standards are already gaining momentum in delivering a secure mobile payments ecosystem:

  • Organizing Mobile NFC Services - The Trusted Service Manager (TSM) acts as an intermediary between Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and third-party service providers that wish to offer additional services to subscribers. GlobalPlatform's ‘System Messaging Specification for Management of Mobile-NFC Services' defines the messaging between each of the three parties to guarantee secure ‘provisioning' of services to the device.
  • The SIM Alliance Open Mobile API - Applications utilizing the Secure Element (the cryptographically secured piece of hardware on newer mobile devices) to secure their critical operations, such as payments, banking or transport tickets, can have a component running within the device's operating system that ensures the user can securely interact with the keyboard/touch screen while enjoying a rich graphical user experience. The SIM Alliance Open Mobile API allows application developers to utilize additional security of the Secure Element more easily, be this in a UICC SIM, a dedicated Secure Element built into the device or a secure SD card, by providing a common means of interfacing with it.
  • Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) - The Secure Element cannot easily host apps with a highly developed or cutting edge user interface, but can look after critical data on the mobile handset. Applications that require complex user interactions must run on the device's primary processor. The TEE secures these apps; GlobalPlatform is leading the standardization and interoperability in this area to ensure that software and data are sufficiently protected. For example, payment apps that run their user interface in TEE and their transaction security in the Secure Element would have a particularly high level of security.

Such standards encourage the industry to work together and benchmark best practices, but they remain as fundamental elements of successful mobile payment security. It is also required that technology that makes the security of provisioning mobile payment applications is as safe as issuing cards, and designing the necessary infrastructure requires much needed consumer confidence.

Security Issues Prompt Consumer Fear
Consumer's perceived fear surrounding new mobile payments technology often looms around security. The lack in consumer confidence originates from the threat of information being intercepted during a transaction. Yet risks are prominent at every stage of the mobile payment life cycle, including how payment applications get onto a phone securely in the first place. Constructing the data needed to issue a payment application and generate the secure messages to personalize a handset can be a lengthy and inefficient process, and the various cryptographic functions pose the possibility that sensitive data is at risk of exposure.

This initial set-up process or ‘provisioning' usually takes place over-the-air (OTA). The process increases security risks due to the various parties involved - typically the payment application provider (usually a bank), a Trusted Service Manager, the Mobile Network Operator and the end user. A vital success factor is maintaining security throughout this procedure, ensuring that no data is compromised. Successful provisioning utilizes unique personalization keys to not only encrypt the loading of data onto a device, but also the succeeding transactions performed by the application.

Mobile Payment Security as Secure as Traditional Payment Cards
By implementing the newest cryptography methods, users can ensure that ‘provisioning' occurs securely with the same level of protection provided by traditional payment cards. Providers of physical cards tend to favor Hardware Security Modules (HSMs), which generate and secure the encryption keys crucial to managing issuance risk. This method is also relevant for provisioning services to a mobile phone and can significantly reduce the complexities associated with the process while simultaneously avoiding the weakness of keys stored in software. The primary benefit of an HSM is to secure encryption keys and sensitive data in a way that safeguards such data from exposure. With this method, service providers reduce risk.

While encryption is crucial to the security of mobile payments, it isn't the only answer. For a more comprehensive approach to optimize security, encryption and authentication must be combined to provide protection for data exchanges and authorizations.

Reducing Risk
As the mobile payment industry continues to develop at lightning speed, best practices have yet to be solidified. Operators and related parties are still unsure about who ultimately controls the mobile wallet. But one thing that is for sure is that security remains the primary hurdle most consumers can't get over.

Extinguishing this concern is no easy task; it requires a mixture of robust standards and best practices, accompanied with the right technical path to ensure the experience is safe from the second that a user opts to download a payment app. If businesses want to take advantage of the mobile payments, security needs to be at the forefront of their approach to mitigating risk and encourage comprehensive consumer adoption.

More Stories By Ian Hermon

Ian Hermon is Product Marketing Manager at Thales e-Security. He has more than 15 years’ experience in the payment industry, being responsible for the Thales portfolio of payment and transaction security products. He represents Thales on both the MasterCard Global Vendor Forum and Visa Europe Vendor Forum, is a member of the Smart Card Alliance Payments Council and the Smartex Smart Payments Forum Steering Committee. Ian also represents Thales as a participating organization on the PCI Security Standards Committee and is an EMV subscriber.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to connect your brand strategy with the right consumer. 24Notion ranked #12 on Corporate Social Responsibility - Book of List.
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, will discuss how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy ap...
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
What does it look like when you have access to cloud infrastructure and platform under the same roof? Let’s talk about the different layers of Technology as a Service: who cares, what runs where, and how does it all fit together. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, an IBM company, spoke about the picture being painted by IBM Cloud and how the tools being crafted can help fill the gaps in your IT infrastructure.
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridharabalan, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, Inc., will focus on key challenges in building an Internet of Things solution infrastructure. He will shed light on efficient ways of defining interactions within IoT solutions, leading to cost and time reduction. He will also introduce ways to handle data and how one can develop IoT solutions that are lean, flexible and configurable, thus making IoT infrastructure agile and scalable.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sheng Liang to Keynote at SYS-CON's 19th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1-3, 2016 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, provided tips on how to be successful in large scale machine learning...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, will discuss recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model f...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
Digital transformation is too big and important for our future success to not understand the rules that apply to it. The first three rules for winning in this age of hyper-digital transformation are: Advantages in speed, analytics and operational tempos must be captured by implementing an optimized information logistics system (OILS) Real-time operational tempos (IT, people and business processes) must be achieved Businesses that can "analyze data and act and with speed" will dominate those t...
If you had a chance to enter on the ground level of the largest e-commerce market in the world – would you? China is the world’s most populated country with the second largest economy and the world’s fastest growing market. It is estimated that by 2018 the Chinese market will be reaching over $30 billion in gaming revenue alone. Admittedly for a foreign company, doing business in China can be challenging. Often changing laws, administrative regulations and the often inscrutable Chinese Interne...
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.