A Day in the Life of the TEE

As a Field Application Engineer at Trustonic I like to use applications that are TEE secured, both to be an advocate of the technology and also to benefit from the security it brings. It's the classic case of eating your own dogfood, or perhaps more politely – drinking your own champagne.

Thankfully living the TEE life isn’t daunting, there are no black arts required and you don’t have to have been working in IT security for decades. As a consumer of TEE security it’s just a case of downloading your applications as before. Your user experience is unchanged, and most probably improved.

So here are some of the applications I use daily, safe in the knowledge that the secure parts are implemented as a Trusted application.

First off, to use the Trustonic TEE you’ll need a device with this integrated. Thankfully there’s now over a half a billion devices with our TEE present and this includes devices like the Samsung Note range and Galaxy range amongst others.

Symantec VIP

If like me, you’re one of the 173 million PayPal users worldwide, you can use the Symantec VIP application to secure your account. The Symantec VIP application generates a one-time passcode (OTP) which can be used in conjunction with your PayPal static password. I now have a second factor to authenticate with – payments are not made unless both the static and OTP passwords are entered.

For more details how to set this up see - https://www.paypal-community.com/t5/Tips-from-Moderators/PayPal-Security-Key/td-p/433633.

Symantec VIP is available on google play -https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Symantec+VIP&hl=en_GB

If your device has the Trustonic TEE present, Symantec VIP will use the TEE to secure the OTP generation.

 

KoolSpan Secure VOIP / Encrypted Messages

I use various messaging and communication tools. For work, I prefer something secure. KoolSpan’s TrustCall application gives me both secure voice communications and I can share sensitive data (such as passwords) using encrypted messages.

TrustCall is available on google play - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.koolspan.trustcall3&hl=en

KoolSpan currently have a free 30 day trial - http://info.koolspan.com/secure-phone-calls-and-messaging-free-on-samsung-phones

Emerging Payments

Bitcoin – a hot topic right now. I started using it seriously last year. I got into mining, bought bitcoins and spent them (mostly at the local pub that happens to accept them).

If you want to use bitcoin you need a wallet. There are many wallet applications out there and companies such as Rivetz (https://rivetz.com) and Ledger (https://www.ledger.co/) have seen the value of the TEE to secure wallets.

Bitcoin, being a cryptocurrency, your private key is everything. With your private key transactions are signed and added to the block chain – the private key allows you to spend your coins. If this is compromised your coins can be stolen.

Wear your private key on your t-shirt and it could be stolen in five minutes - https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bitcoin-researcher-has-bitcoins-stolen-from-private-key-on-shirt-1447447198

The point is: given the opportunity thieves will steal your bitcoins. Keep your private key secure is the lesson.

Better still, use a TEE to protect it. I’m using Mycelium https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mycelium.wallet in conjunction with Ledger wallet.

My private key is TEE protected, and the Ledger Wallet uses the Trustonic Trusted User Interface to approve transactions.

The Ledger wallet is available as a beta, for more details see https://www.ledgerwallet.com/beta/trustlet

So to sum up, we’re seeing more and more service providers seeing the security benefits of the TEE. Powerful hardware security is in people’s hands today. Malware and hackers will persist, but I certainly feel that little more secure, knowing many of my day to day activities are TEE secured.