Now that Windows Phone 8 has officially gone gold, meaning the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) has been confirmed, it seems like a good time to mention that Microsoft's new smartphone has been stamped with "baked-in cybersecurity goodness" approval.
Last month at the TechNet Land Forces East conference in Baltimore, Steven Sprague, president and chief executive officer of Wave Systems, predicted [PDF] that "the next generation of cybersecurity will not deal with securing computer networks but rather with ensuring the inherent security of devices that connect to those networks." His company, which Gartner named as a Visionary in the 2012 Magic Quadrant for Mobile Data Protection, has developed "highly encrypted security applications for the Trusted Platform Module" (TPM); the TPM chip is in more than 600 million devices, including Apple's products. AFCEA Signal Online reported, The coming Windows 8 smartphones comes with "baked-in cybersecurity goodness" by using the TPM chip for security verification.
TPM will allegedly help redefine mobile by bringing about "a transition of the network architecture from a network based on connections to a network based on identity," Sprague said. A phone with TPM is "a smartphone that is safe to lose." The chip helps "to power self-encrypting, solid-state electrical disk drives. The self-encryption makes it possible to remotely disable a device and, if needed, erase critical data. It also makes remote management of devices possible."
The TPM chip in Windows Phone 8 "will oversee the secure boot process and guarantee the security of the rest of the system. The integrity of the system can also be evaluated by a remote service before granting it access to resources. This process called Remote Attestation will make a Windows Phone 8 handset the perfect client for connecting to secure systems." Yet criticisms of deploying Trusted Platform Module technology include claims that you can't trust devices that use it and potential privacy concerns like the "abuse of remote validation of software (where the manufacturer - and not the user who owns the computer system - decides what software is allowed to run) and possible ways to follow actions taken by the user being recorded in a database."
TPM chips have been called "the secret of Microsoft's attack on RIM." Microsoft is definitely aiming at the same enterprise and government markets. While discussing BlackBerry and RIM's "trainwreck," Digital Trends stated, "Microsoft is supporting TPM largely so it (and its customers) do not have to build their own global secure network for communications." The article suggested that RIM should allow Windows Phone 8 devices to securely access its private network, since the new Windows Phone could otherwise replace the BlackBerry Private Secure network.
Additionally MIS Asia reported that delegates at Tech Ed 2012 were told Windows Phone 8 will also come with NFC capabilities. "Built to Roam owner, Nick Randolph, confirmed that Windows Phone 8 will support NFC technology which allows for two-way communication between a mobile device and an NFC terminal at a cash register or pay station." For Windows Phone 7 users who feel "left behind," Microsoft hopes to appease those users with the Windows Phone 7.8 update, Tech2 reported.
When Slashdot reported on ways Windows Phone 8 can succeed, it mentioned the Gartner research statistics of "Microsoft's share of the worldwide smartphone market stands at 2.7%." ZDNet reported hearing rumors that the "Windows Phone 8 launch is going to happen on October 29 in either San Francisco or Los Angeles," but a strong release "is the bare minimum needed" to turnaround Microsoft's precarious toehold in the smartphone market, according to Ars Technica's Peter Bright. He warned that problems with the software, not the hardware, "all paint a troubling picture for Windows Phone 8....Whatever the cause of the delays—whether they're because Microsoft has bitten off more than it can chew with the kernel transition, or due to some other reason—the situation is now growing critical. It's not just that it's annoying developers; the delays are undoubtedly hurting Redmond's hardware partners."
Hey, Microsoft, when you hand Bright a new Windows Phone 8 to play with as press . . . you could send me one to review as well. ;-)
Lastly, in case you're curious, Ubuntu Life snagged an image of the new Windows Phone 8 powered HTC Elation before HTC yanked it down and replaced it with a 404 error. Otherwise, WPCentral showed off these Windows Phone 8 devices: (L to R) Lumia 920, Lumia 820, HTC 8X, ATIV S.
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Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. Smith has a diverse background in information technology, programming, web development, IT consulting, and information security. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.
Smith is an independent contractor and is not affiliated with any vendor that makes or sells information technology.
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