Linux Solution Tackles iPhone AJAX Security
iPhone, whatever its sales, was disruptive from the moment Steve Jobs first showed it off in January
By: iPhone News Desk
Sep. 7, 2007 10:45 AM
iPhone, whatever its sales, was disruptive from the moment Steve Jobs first showed it off in January.
It immediately started redefining the smartphone business and focused the attention of smartphone makers on the importance of software, according to serial entrepreneur Pauline Alker, the CEO of a la Mobile, the Venrock-backed developer of what is supposed to be the first Linux software stack for smart devices ready to deliver.
IPhone's pushing smartphones up the evolutionary ladder from voice-centric gadgets with limited data functions into sophisticated multimedia devices deploying a broad range of enterprise and consumer applications.
But the increased use of data-rich applications leaves mobile devices vulnerable to security threats - even the loss of a phone can represent a threat to the personal and corporate data stored on it.
According to In-Stat eight million phones will be lost this year including 700,000 smartphones.
So - to deal with this massive carelessness - the start-up just added a patent-pending Mobile Security Engine to its mobile phone operating system - called the Convergent Linux Platform - that provides enterprise-class security like sandboxing and an encrypted file system.
The widgetry, developed in-house, promises to protect against software threats and, since everything is encrypted, make a lost or stolen phone useless if tampered with and the data safe.
The pending patent, a la Mobile says, is focused on the location of the security technology - at the bootloader and kernel levels. The security isn't added on as an application. Instead it attacks the problem at the most fundamental layer of its OS platform.
Besides encryption, the widgetry ensures the integrity of the operating system against tampering through digital signature verification of the kernel at boot time.
It also "signs" all applications to protect against malware; only signed applications are given access to sensitive system operations like reading user data, placing calls or modifying system settings. And the firmware can't be updated without a signature either.
The Mobile Security Engine will be integrated in the Convergent Linux Platform, which otherwise provides the Linux kernel, all device drivers, middleware, browser, Java, Adobe Flash and a core suite of applications such as messaging, push-mail, VoIP, streaming multimedia and over-the-air firmware updating,
iPhone underscored the fact that all devices are not the same, which, Alker says, is the way Microsoft and its one-size-fits-all Windows Mobile platform, her main competitor, has been treating smartphones.
She, on the other hand, offers customization and configurability and if she doesn't have it, she'll go out and get it.
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