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GlobalPlatform Takes First Steps Towards ‘Integrated’ Secure Element Standardization

March 2019 by Emmanuelle Lamandé

GlobalPlatform has published open specifications to facilitate the standardization of integrated secure elements.

Chip, device and firmware developers now have a standardized way to load and manage firmware – combining the secure operating system (OS), applications and data – in a secure and isolated area of a device’s System on Chip (SoC).
Existing Secure Elements (SEs) – such as SIMs, smart cards, smart microSDs and USB tokens – are stand-alone tamper-resistant hardware platforms, developed as different form factors for different use cases. They are capable of securely hosting multiple applications and their confidential and cryptographic data, addressing the requirements of different business implementations and market needs. The ability to integrate a tamper-resistant hardware platform in a SoC offers a new universal form factor to host and execute secure digital services, while supporting the high level of security and tamper-resistance achieved by today’s Secure Elements.

GlobalPlatform has published two freely-available documents:
- Open Firmware Loader (OFL) standardizes how firmware can be loaded and managed in the tamper-resistant hardware platform.
- Virtual Primary Platform (VPP) defines the security services running on the tamper-resistant platform, called a Virtual Primary Platform (VPP). The VPP creates a standardized ‘virtual’ version of the hardware platform that allows developers to build secure solutions and deploy them across variety of products.

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