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Qualcomm's security-boosted smartphone chip wins German certification

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Qualcomm's security-boosted smartphone chip wins German certification
FILE PHOTO: A sign on the Qualcomm campus is seen, as chip maker Broadcom Ltd announced an unsolicited bid to buy peer Qualcomm Inc for $103 billion, in San Diego, California, U.S. November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake   -   Copyright  Mike Blake(Reuters)
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) – U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm has won certification from Germany’s cyber watchdog for a next generation chip that boosts the security of smartphones, as applications such as mobile payments become increasingly prevalent.

The company said its Snapdragon 855 mobile system on a chip (SoC) had gained a seal of approval from Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), whose certification was “known to be very rigorous and globally recognised”.

The first approval of its kind means smartphones packing the Qualcomm SoC are deemed to be as secure as smart cards. Almost half of the world’s smartphones run on the company’s chipsets.

The certification means applications that previously required separate security chips will now be possible using just Qualcomm’s SoC system, potentially bolstering the U.S. company’s market position.

“Smartphones and tablets are today used for many applications that have high security demands, for example for payments, saving passwords, keys, sensitive information such as health data or two-factor authentication,” said BSI president Arne Schoenbohm.

“In securing these devices, the trend is to an ever-increasing integration of elements.”

Such applications are expected to become even more prevalent with the launch of 5G services.

Winning the so-called EAL-4+ certification will also help manufacturers save on materials costs and reduce power use in devices, Qualcomm said in a release timed to coincide with the Mobile World Congress, a telecoms industry gathering, in Shanghai.

The BSI certification, based on so-called Common Criteria (ISO/IEC 15408), reflects the watchdog’s view that the Qualcomm SoC – which is already in production – is strongly resilient against hacker attacks, the BSI said in a statement.

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Mark Potter)

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