A new Snowden leak a few days ago revealed that the NSA and GCHQ conducted a complex hack operation that focused on obtaining the secure encryption keys that protect mobile communications in devices with SIM cards. A subsequent report revealed that the goal of spy agencies might have been a lot bigger, as they may have been hunting for other security keys that would let them deploy spyware on any mobile device with a SIM card inside, and users would have no idea that anything had happened. More →
A few days ago, a report revealed that spy agencies including the NSA and GCHQ, managed to bypass the security of SIM card manufacturer Gemalto and gain access to valuable encryption keys that protect cellphone signals. Even though Gemalto denied the reports, but The Verge points out that the hack might be more serious than initially believed, as it could give agencies the ability of infecting any phone using these specific SIM cards with additional spyware programs. More →
The ability to use your phone for NFC mobile payments across borders just became a reality. Gemalto announced that it has developed the first UICC-embedded software application that is approved by Mastercard’s mobile payment specification for NFC. Gemalto’s software provides a number of features, including the Trusted Service Management interface for PayPass payments, and the ability to manage and view your mobile transaction history. Your SIM, and ultimately your phone, can be linked to debit, credit, and prepaid accounts — users can even top up their prepaid cards using Gemalto’s software. You’ll also be able to set your account PIN directly from your phone. When we interviewed MasterCard’s vice president of mobile, James Anderson, last week, he said that the key to NFC was that it has to work wherever you are — whether you’re at home or away on vacation. That’s now possible. “Leveraging the interoperability of MasterCard PayPass, Gemalto’s effort will enable cross-border mobile NFC payment, adding ease to the fast-paced lifestyles of more and more consumers across the world,” Anderson said. It’s unclear when Gemalto’s solution will land in the hands of consumers, but the company says it is already working with a first-tier financial institution and a major global carrier for a UK roll-out. Hit the jump for the full release More →
If we know one thing about Apple it is this: they like control… and this latest rumor seems to reaffirm that creed. Blog GigaOM is reporting that Apple is planning to release an iPhone with an integrated SIM that can be used on any wireless carrier — partnered with Apple — in the EU. A universal iPhone if you will. As the report explains:
Sources inside European carriers have reported that Apple has been working with SIM-card manufacturer Gemalto to create a special SIM card that would allow consumers in Europe to buy a phone via the web or at the Apple Store and get the phones working using Apple’s App Store.
This special SIM would have an upgradeable flash component as well as a ROM component. The article goes on to explain:
The ROM area contains data provided by Gemalto with everything related to IT and network security, except for the carrier-related information. The flash component will receive the carrier related data via a local connection which could be the PC or a dedicated device, so it can be activated on the network. Gemalto will provide the back-end infrastructure that allows service and number provisioning on the carrier network.
This would be yet another way that Apple can control the end-user experience — and potentially the distribution — of its popular smartphone device. For us, one of the benefits of using a SIM-based device is having the luxury of popping the little plastic card into virtually any compatible, GSM device you choose. What do you think? More →