BSI gives Qualcomm smartphone SoC a security certificate

July 02, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
BSI gives Qualcomm smartphone SoC a security certificate
Smartphones and tablet computers are increasingly used for a wide range of applications that require a high level of security. Things like payment transactions, storage of passwords, keys and sensitive data such as health data or 2-factor authentication – to name just a few. The SPU230 security element built into Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 processors now provides a trusted foundation for such applications.

The security element has now been certified by the German cybersecurity authority BSI to Common Criteria (ISO/IEC 15408) EAL 4 + ALC_DVS.2 and AVA_VAN.5. This is the first time that a security element has received this demanding security certificate, which is integrated in a broadband processor for mobile end devices, BSI points out. This provides mobile platforms such as smartphones and tablets with a security anchor whose security level is comparable to that of a smart card.

According to observations by the BSI, the trend in securing these devices is towards ever greater integration of components. "The certification of these systems-on-a-chip shows that the Common Criteria are also the criteria of choice for complex products," explained the BSI in a press release.

SoCs combine all the functions of a system on a single chip in order to achieve smaller sizes and higher performance as well as lower costs and energy consumption. Functions that used to require multiple ICs are now integrated on a single chip, including CPU, signal processor, graphics processor, security element, and various broadband modems.

The Common Criteria are an international standard (ISO/IEC 15408) for the certification of IT security products with transparent certification results. The evaluation level EAL 4 + ALC_DVS.2 AVA_VAN.5 confirms that the product is resistant to attackers with a high attack potential.

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