GlobalPlatform Standardizes Secure OS and Firmware Loading on Secure Elements
Enables OS loading post-issuance, device refurbishment & firmware transfer to new devices
November 27, 2017 – GlobalPlatform, the standard for secure digital services and devices, has published its Open Firmware Loader for Tamper Resistant Elements (OFL). The free specification standardizes how secure element (SE) firmware – combining the secure operating system (OS), applications and data – can be remotely loaded and managed onto a SE such as SIM, embedded SE or eUICC / eSIM, or integrated SE even after a device has been issued.
This ensures that the device’s longevity is no longer impacted by the lifecycle of the SE, and opens up a range of new use cases like in-field OS and firmware provisioning, device refurbishment, backup / restoration of the SE and the secure transfer of a customer profile to a new device. With the OFL security scheme, handset manufacturers, service providers and firmware implementers can build a new privacy-by- design ecosystem where services can be securely deployed and updated on connected devices.
“The growth of embedded SEs is driving the development of new solutions as, previously, there has not been a standardized way to load the OS to an eUICC after the smartphone has been produced,” says Gil Bernabeu, Technical Director of GlobalPlatform. “With the OFL protocol, the selection of an OS can be delayed until the device reaches its destination. So, if a smartphone is manufactured in one country, for example in China, a country-specific OS can be loaded to the eSIM or integrated SE once it reaches France, or the U.S. What’s great is that this also brings greater flexibility further down the line. Smartphones, connected cars or any other device with an embedded or integrated SE often have more than one owner during their lifecycle. OFL ensures a new OS can replace an existing one and, importantly, a personalized OS and its services can be securely transferred to a new device.”
The OFL protocol enables the industry to:
- Distribute generic and blank (no firmware/operating system) embedded hardware featuring a standardized loading mechanism. This enables firmware from various developers to be loaded, with policy enforcement, after the issuance of the device.
- Solve the logistical challenge of distributing devices to fragmented markets with low volume.
- Distribute new firmware once the device has been issued to address additional use cases.
- Mitigate the challenges of loading firmware containing diversified data into embedded hardware during manufacturing.
- Use a standardized loader, shared between multiple silicon makers, allowing firmware implementers to produce loadable OSs.
- Ensure perfect forward secrecy and confidentiality between firmware makers easing compliancy with the latest data regulations (GDPR).
The publication of the OFL is the first output of GlobalPlatform’s new Fast Track Process. The initiative enables members to bring forward mature technologies for standardization via an expedited process to more rapidly answer the needs of the market.
“GlobalPlatform technology gives service providers and device manufacturers the means to interact seamlessly when deploying secure digital services, regardless of market or device type. The resulting collaboration makes the mass marketing of secure digital services possible, while bringing time and cost efficiencies to stakeholders within the ecosystem,” concludes Gil.
For more information on GlobalPlatform’s work, please visit the website.
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Notes to editors:
GlobalPlatform is a non-profit industry association driven by over 100 member companies. Members share a common goal to develop GlobalPlatform’s specifications, which are today highly regarded as the international standard for enabling digital services and devices to be trusted and securely managed throughout their lifecycle.
GlobalPlatform protects digital services by standardizing and certifying a security hardware/firmware combination, known as a secure component, which acts as an on-device trust anchor. This facilitates collaboration between service providers and device manufacturers, empowering them to ensure the right level of security within all devices to protect against threats.
GlobalPlatform specifications also standardize the secure management of digital services and devices once deployed in the field. Altogether, GlobalPlatform enables convenient and secure digital service delivery to end users, while supporting privacy, regardless of market sector or device type. Devices secured by GlobalPlatform include connected cars, set top boxes, smart cards, smartphones, tablets, wearables, and other Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices.
The technology’s widespread global adoption delivers cost and time-to-market efficiencies to all. Market sectors adopting GlobalPlatform technology include automotive, healthcare, government and enterprise ID, payments, premium content, smart cities, smart home, telecoms, transportation, and utilities.
GlobalPlatform’s legacy of successful technical specification development is thanks to two decades of energetic and effective industry collaboration. Members influence the organization’s output through participation in technical committees, working groups and strategic task forces. GlobalPlatform technology is developed in collaboration with numerous standards bodies and regional organizations across the world, to ensure continual relevance and timeliness. For more information visit www.globalplatform.org.