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G&D Supplies Vodafone Germany with SIM Card-Based System for Mobile Communication Encryption

Vodafone Germany is the first telecommunications group to offer its corporate and public sector customers SIM card based end-to-end encryption for their mobile communication. Giesecke & Devrient (G&D), an international leader in mobile security solutions, developed the product in collaboration with Düsseldorf-based network operator Vodafone. Secure SIM Data encrypts and signs emails, documents, data carriers, and VPN connections. This is the second product for securing mobile communication that Vodafone has brought out in collaboration with its security partner G&D. The existing solution has been providing Vodafone customers with secure login access to corporate networks and the data cloud for some time now – there, too, G&D’s latest SIM technology provided the key.

As mobile working becomes more common, companies are increasingly forced to find more effective ways to protect sensitive data. Solutions are called for that can be implemented on different devices simply and flexibly. Vodafone is now offering a standardized, flexible and above all cost-efficient product for daily use that is based on G&D technology.

“We created Vodafone Secure SIM Data as a simple, cost-efficient and above all secure value-added service based on the Vodafone SIM card for the telecommunications group’s corporate customers. It regulates access to sensitive data while also protecting mobile data communication effectively against attack,” says Carsten Ahrens, Group Senior Vice President, Server Software and Services (3S) division.

Unlike the majority of products that are already available, this solution does not require users to possess separate smartcards or security tokens. The digital private key and corresponding certificates are securely stored on the SIM in the user’s notebook or tablet, eliminating the need for additional hardware such as card readers etc. Vodafone is presenting the solution for the first time at this year’s CeBIT trade show in Hannover, where it will be demonstrated using a Windows 8-based standard Lenovo notebook.

Secure SIM Data encrypts emails and documents in such a way that they are unreadable to unauthorized third parties. The customer simply enters a PIN in order to encrypt and add a signature as well as to decrypt their communication. The solution uses the widespread S/MIME encryption program for email exchanges, and in the future, encryption via PGP will also be possible. Users also have the option to authenticate emails in order to verify origins and that email content remains unaltered.

Besides electronic data traffic, the solution can also be used to encrypt storage media such as USB sticks or hard drives. This ensures, for instance, that a sales representative’s confidential contract paperwork remains protected against unauthorized access even in the event of theft or loss of the notebook.