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
“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
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
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.