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Advances For Mobile Security On Horizon

Vendors answer the call for biometrics, while an industry group develops standards for securing mobile devices.
There are new developments in the battle to keep smartphones secure. One issue is passwords: On a small keyboard, it's all too easy to fat-finger complex strings. AuthenTec, a leading provider of fingerprint readers for laptops, says it's starting to see demand for biometrics on smartphones and believes biometrically enabled devices will debut in the United States within 18 months. The company has been selected to secure PDAs to be used in the 2010 U.S. census. OKI, a Japanese electronics company, takes a different approach to biometrics with its work on developing eye recognition for phones. OKI uses a combination of custom software and the cameras found in many phones to scan a user's eye to determine whether she's the authorized user. The concept is still in its earliest stages; OKI doesn't expect to come to market until 2010.

Beyond securing physical access, the Trusted Computing Group is working to develop a version of the Trusted Platform Module geared toward mobile devices. Dubbed the Mobile Trusted Module, the TCG's work is designed to develop standards for securing mobile devices, a space that is dominated by agents that are cross-platform but proprietary to each security vendor. The TCG's goal is to build on the work accomplished with the TPM while at the same time addressing the unique concerns of a mobile platform.

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Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing