Encypted SMS as a Backup for Mobile Data Applications
Published on: 16th Sep 2008
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
Mobile applications developer, Masabi says that it has overcome an obstacle to m commerce application uptake by using encrypted SMS to transfer data. Following a range of commercial and pilot launches the company found that providing SMS as a data option solves connection issues for the (claimed) 40 50% of java application users who cannot connect through GPRS or 3G.
By using SMS, mobile commerce applications can still be used where there is minimal GRPS or 3G coverage or where the handset has incorrect mobile data settings. As the SMS is encrypted it also overcomes the security vulnerabilities inherent in SMS messaging infrastructure whilst also offering mobile users a data transfer method which is well understood both in terms of cost and technology.
"Many consumers have been turned off using mobile applications by a combination of unclear costs, security concerns and incorrect settings. If it doesn't work first time with a cost they can understand, its unlikely that any applications will ever go mass market," said Ben Whitaker, COO and head of security development, Masabi. "By combining our encryption technology with SMS we can deliver a great user experience that just works first time on a huge range of different phones."
Using the system, Masabi's applications automatically detect if the user's phone has a working GPRS or 3G data connection, and falls back to SMS if they don't.
Masabi found that although subscribers with a working WAP connection can use it to download a mobile application, 40-50% of these subscriber don't have a working Internet connection required for the application to send and receive data.
This SMS backup provides a seamless solution to the issues of poor signal strength, fast moving vehicles, international roaming, users without data contracts or users with incorrect data settings which plague a large proportion of mobile phones on networks globally.
The system uses Masabi's EncryptME security software to transmit end-to-end encrypted data in a single SMS between handsets and servers, even from legacy handsets that don't provide any native security features. EncryptME is the only certified mobile java security module on the market and was recently validated by BT's Cryptographic Laboratories to US government standards and in just 3Kb of memory provides equivalent security to the dominant PC web browsers.