For inquiries about GlobalPlatform or website assistance, contact

GlobalPlatform Technology Migrates to the Advanced Encryption Standard

24 September 2009 – GlobalPlatform, the international specification body for smart card infrastructure, has taken the first step towards migrating its secure framework technology to the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with the launch of the Secure Channel Protocol 03.  This latest royalty-free document from the association – which can be downloaded at - aligns GlobalPlatform technology to the cryptographic standard increasingly being stipulated by many organisations, including the US Government.

The GlobalPlatform Secure Channel Protocol 03 - published as Amendment D to Card Specification v2.2 - defines a new set of cryptographic methods based on AES for the communication between a smart card and an external entity, which enables GlobalPlatform technology to be compliant with requirements for AES based security.  This allows GlobalPlatform cards to migrate from the Data Encryption Standard (DES) to AES, which was developed as a joint initiative between the US Government and private industry to strengthen cryptography and increase the length of keys.

Referencing recommendations from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the US Department of Defence (DoD), the Secure Channel Protocol 03 ensures that the security mechanisms of GlobalPlatform cards conform to the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201 and NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-57.  The technology also aligns with the 2010 mandate of the NIST SP 800-78.

Karl Eglof Hartel, GlobalPlatform's Card Committee Chair and Project Manager for New Technologies in Giesecke & Devrient's Telecom Division, comments: "The request to align GlobalPlatform's card technology to AES came from GlobalPlatform's Government Task Force.  Through its market specific activities, it recognized that some parties no longer considered DES adequate for high security applications, and have begun to mandate the adoption of AES.  It was important to ensure GlobalPlatform technology supported this market transition."

In addition to the considerable resources invested by the GlobalPlatform Card Committee to complete the required work, NIST and the US DoD also provided valuable feedback to the document.  Lynne Prince, Deputy Chief, Authentication and Access Division, at the DoD, comments: "The US Federal Government FIPS 201 requires higher cryptographic protocols for secure channel transport in its Personal Identity Verification (PIV) cards.  The GlobalPlatform Secure Channel Protocol 03 allows the DoD and other US Federal Agencies using GlobalPlatform in their PIV programs to meet the more advanced cryptographic standards."

Karl Eglof concludes: "This level of support has significantly improved the final product.  For example, the modes on how cryptographic algorithms are used for providing authentication and confidentiality are based entirely on NIST recommendations."

He adds: "Although the government sector has been the driving force behind this migration, the Secure Chanel Protocol 03 is a versatile solution which can bring many benefits to other markets.  This is becoming particularly important as sectors converge and technology such as NFC greatly increases partnership opportunities within the market."

- ENDS -

About GlobalPlatform
*2009 is the 10th anniversary of GlobalPlatform - to learn more about its achievements click here*

GlobalPlatform is the world leader in smart card infrastructure development. Its proven technical specifications for cards, devices and systems are regarded as the industry standard for achieving interoperable, sustainable and flexible smart card deployments that support multi-application, multi-actor and multi-business model implementations.

GlobalPlatform is a member driven association with cross-industry representation from all world continents. As of October 2008, an estimated 305.7 million GlobalPlatform-based smart cards had been deployed globally and an additional two billion mid range USIM/SIM cards worldwide are estimated to use GlobalPlatform card technology to enable over-the-air (OTA) application downloads for 3G and GSM mobile networks.

Back to Archive

If you are a media representative, analyst, or conference organizer with a question, please email us at:

Hey There!

It seems you are using an outdated browser, unfortunately this means that our website will not render properly for you. Update your browser to view this website correctly.