Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Steven Lamb, Sematext Blog, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner, Kevin Benedict

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
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet a...
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Verizon will acquire Yahoo's operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments. Yahoo informs, connects and entertains a global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users** -- including 600 million monthly active mobile users*** through its search, communications and digital content products. Yahoo also co...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
It’s 2016: buildings are smart, connected and the IoT is fundamentally altering how control and operating systems work and speak to each other. Platforms across the enterprise are networked via inexpensive sensors to collect massive amounts of data for analytics, information management, and insights that can be used to continuously improve operations. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Chemel, Co-Founder and CTO of Digital Lumens, will explore: The benefits sensor-networked systems bring to ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...