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The Snapdragon 855 is the first mobile processor certified to be as secure as a smart card

The Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit is part of the SD 855. (Source: Qualcomm)
The Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit is part of the SD 855. (Source: Qualcomm)
Qualcomm has announced that its latest flagship SoC, the Snapdragon 855, is the first CPU for mobile devices to attain the Smart Card Equivalent Security Certification. This means the processor can handle applications normally confined to the realm of dedicated security chips. It does this through its integrated Secure Processing Unit.

Qualcomm has announced that it has successfully attained Smart Card Equivalent Security Certification for its  Snapdragon 855 (SD 855) flagship product. This qualification, also known as the Common Criteria EAL-4+ security certification, is a "gold standard" in security capabilities for hardware such as SoCs. It is conferred by the German Federal Office for Information Security, following a panel of testing that is recognized and relied on worldwide.

The SD 855 was developed with an integrated Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit, which has been involved in functions such as Android Strongbox Keymaster or Gatekeeper on the devices in which it is found until now. Its new certification means that it may also be possible to use the chipset for applications such as trusted platform module (TPM) functions; offline payments; crypto wallets; travel permits and even electronic IDs - all from a 2019 flagship smartphone.

Speaking in conjunction with the SD 855's Common Criteria EAL-4+ certification event, Jesse Seed, the senior director of product management at Qualcomm noted that, “Completing the EAL-4+ security certification is a major milestone in our journey to bring smart card levels of security to our Snapdragon customers and users. Use cases that previously required separate security chips [may now be] fully integrated in Snapdragon 855 powered devices”.

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Qualcomm Press Release

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Becomes First Mobile SoC to Receive Smart Card Equivalent Security Certification

Secure Processing Unit can run High Assurance Applications Previously Only Performed by External Security Chips, Saving OEMs Bill of Materials Cost

SAN DIEGO — June 25, 2019 — Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), announced the Qualcomm® Secure Processing Unit, an on-die secure element recently launched as part of the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 855 Mobile Platform, has received Common Criteria EAL-4+ security certification, the gold standard for smart card hardware security assurance and testing. The internationally recognized certification makes the Snapdragon 855 the first mobile SoC (System on Chip) to attain smart card levels of security assurance. The integrated Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit enables Qualcomm Technologies’ OEM customers to save on Bill of Materials (BOM) cost without sacrificing security and offers the performance and power improvements that come with integration into the leading process node.

Examples of current Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit use cases include Android Strongbox Keymaster and Gatekeeper. On demonstration at Qualcomm Technologies’ exhibit at MWC Shanghai this week is another example of the certified Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit’s capabilities: an integrated SIM (iSIM) demo by Qualcomm Technologies and Gemalto, a Thales company. In the future, capabilities like offline payment, trusted platform module (TPM) functions, transit, electronic ID, and crypto wallets will be possible, all without the need of a discrete security chip.

“Completing the EAL-4+ security certification is a major milestone in our journey to bring smart card levels of security to our Snapdragon customers and users. Use cases that previously required separate security chips will now be possible fully integrated in Snapdragon 855 powered devices,” said Jesse Seed, senior director, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “This certification is a testament to the industry firsts that Snapdragon 855 brings to market and Qualcomm Technologies’ continued leadership in embedded security.”

The certification of the Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit has been approved by BSI (Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik), the German Federal Office for Information Security.  BSI’s certification program is known to be very rigorous and globally recognized.

“As the national certification authority, the BSI has shown with this certification that Common

Criteria (ISO/IEC 15408) is the first choice to ensure high security for complex products like

SoCs. The certification, which uses international and transparent standards, is an important contribution to strengthen the users' confidence in the security of IT products.

Information security is a prerequisite for a successful digitization," said Arne Schönbohm, president, German Federal Office for Information Security.

“Improving security is a top priority for all of our platform releases,” said Dave Kleidermacher, head of Android security and privacy, Google. “Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit makes it possible for our OEMs to meet the stringent Android StrongBox requirements, and we are looking forward to seeing how partners implement it to take advantage of key StrongBox features, such as improvements to credential and payment security.”

“We are committed to advanced built-in security with the Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit for accelerating the adoption of embedded SIM (eSIM)-based cellular connectivity among a wide variety of consumer connected devices,” said Jean-Francois Rubon, director of strategy, mobile communications solutions, Thales.

“This innovation, based on the GSMA global eSIM specification, will be a great enabler for all sorts of exciting products across all markets,” said Jean-Christophe Tisseuil, head of SIM, GSMA. “Industry recognized assurance of the security within this work is critical and we congratulate Qualcomm Technologies on achieving this significant level of certification in an innovative product.”

Already in production, Snapdragon 855 with the Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit offers improved power and performance characteristics, in addition to industry-leading security features. It has launched in flagship devices globally and is the industry’s first commercial mobile platform supporting multi-gigabit 5G, on-device AI and immersive extended reality (XR) collectively, ushering in a new decade of revolutionary mobile devices.

About Qualcomm
Qualcomm invents breakthrough technologies that transform how the world computes, connects and communicates. When we connected the phone to the
Internet, the mobile revolution was born. Today, our inventions are the foundation for life-changing products, experiences, and industries. As we lead the world to 5G, we envision this next big change in cellular technology spurring a new era of intelligent, connected devices and enabling new opportunities in connected cars, remote delivery of health care services, and the IoT — including smart cities, smart homes, and wearables. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of our engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of our products and services businesses, including, the QCT semiconductor business. For more information, visit Qualcomm’s
website
,
OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 06 > The Snapdragon 855 is the first mobile processor certified to be as secure as a smart card
Deirdre O Donnell, 2019-06-26 (Update: 2019-06-25)