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Joint venture formed to improve mobile security, payments

Posting in Design

ARM Holdings has formed a joint venture with Germalto to try and improve the state of mobile security.

The British chip designer is collaborating with partners Gemalto and Giesecke & Devrient in order to form Trustonic, the Wall Street Journal reports. Launching a new security standard for smartphones, the joint venture's intention is to integrate the new security protocol into every level of a handset from the chip and operating system to applications.

Potentially, a universal security standard could eliminate the need for third-party devices and software -- including bank card readers and ID verification systems -- and may help when it comes to synchronizing files between devices securely.

In addition, the venture wants to provide a secure, "invisible" area within a smartphone that doesn't interact with the outside world, and therefore will not in theory be as vulnerable to viruses or malware. This type of standard is aimed at the financial sector, and may be used by banks and retailers to offer secure ecommerce and mobile banking platforms.

Trustonic is based on ARM's Trustzone technology, which manifests as a security extension within the silicon and can be programmed into a smartphone's hardware. Gemalto and Giesecke & Devrient will be providing the software which will extend ARM's security programming.

Security is becoming an increasingly important issue for smartphone and tablet users. It is not only malicious apps that can hijack your handset and force you to send texts to premium numbers or thieve your banking details, but as mobile browsing catches up to desktop Internet surfing, the number of threats we have to be aware of keeps rising.

In recent news, a new trojan variant managed to swipe approximately $47 million through infiltrating European smartphones, and there are fresh allegations concerning the setup of Samsung mobile devices, which suggests awareness may not be the only issue -- but tech firms themselves must take security even more seriously than before.

This post originally appeared on ZDNet.

Image credit: Eric Franklin/CNET

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— By on December 17, 2012, 6:48 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure