Welcome!

Security Authors: Anne Buff, John Grady, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Paige Leidig, David H Deans

Related Topics: Wireless, SOA & WOA, Web 2.0, iPhone, Security

Wireless: 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
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accelerate their digital channels with APIs, drive partner adoption, monetize their assets, and achieve a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
SYS-CON Events announced today that AgilePoint, the leading provider of Microsoft-centric Business Process Management software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 2nd International @ThingsExpo which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. AgilePoint is the leading provider of Microsoft-based Business Process Management (BPM) software products, has 1,300+ on-premise and cloud deployments in 25+ countries and provides the same advanced BPM feature set as J2EE vendors like IBM and Appian for the Microsoft .NET native environment. AgilePoint customer...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He will discuss opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and tec...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customizable platform to easily integrate into existing software solutions, embed business logic and build s...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, will describe an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people’s real needs and desires.
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: Samsung recognizes that true, accelerated innovation cannot be driven from one source, but requires a...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, has spent 16 years as a marketing, product management, and busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TeleStax, the main sponsor of Mobicents, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TeleStax provides Open Source Communications software and services that facilitate the shift from legacy SS7 based IN networks to IP based LTE and IMS networks hosted on private (on-premise), hybrid or public clouds. TeleStax products include Restcomm, JSLEE, SMSC Gateway, USSD Gateway, SS7 Resource Adaptors, SIP Servlets, Rich Multimedia Services, Presence Services/RCS, Diame...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
SYS-CON Events announces a new pavilion on the Cloud Expo floor where WebRTC converges with the Internet of Things. Pavilion will showcase WebRTC and the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices--computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems Group, will discuss how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, senso...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics...
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.