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Infineon extends security pact with German Ministry

Posted: 08 Jul 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart card? security cooperation? electronics ID card?

Germany's Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) and Infineon Technologies AG have agreed to continue working together in the area of IT security. Federal Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Sch?uble and Infineon CEO Peter Bauer met in Berlin to discuss intensifying their extensive security cooperation that began five years ago.

Areas in which the ministry and Infineon plan to extend their technology dialog include security certification and identity documents.

"As today's information society becomes increasingly mobile, we need highly sophisticated security safeguards. Through systematic use of security solutions, Germany can spearhead the deployment of advanced security applications in industry, transportation, energy supply networks, and IT infrastructure. One example is the electronic passport," said Sch?uble.

Certification standard
Manipulation safeguards need to be quantifiable and comparable, and certification standards play a central role in achieving this. Matters of discussion between the Ministry of the Interior and Infineon include not just methods for proving compliance with security standards for applications, complete solutions and individual products and services, but also recommendations concerning institutions and independent certification bodies responsible for confirming certificates and periods of validity.

The whole issue of security certification will become increasingly important in the future, as not just data communication but also a growing number of applications (electronic prescriptions in the healthcare sector, for example) and products (such as mobile readers carried by doctors on patient visits) will have to incorporate accredited security features.

Electronic ID card
Both parties also plan to include new EU-wide identity documents into their dialog. EU member states have a total population of almost 500 million people, and the number of ID cards currently in circulation is estimated at 380 million. Given that ID cards are the most widely used type of travel document inside the EU, it is expected that the same security technology as used in electronic passports will also be implemented in electronic ID cards. The German Ministry of the Interior has already announced a program to this effect, as have governments and interior ministries in Poland, Italy, Spain and France.

"Security, along with energy efficiency and communication, is a core focus for Infineon. For many years now, we have led the world market in chips for smart card applications and we're a technology leader in silicon-based security," said Bauer, CEO and head of Infineon's automotive, industrial and multimarket business group. "When it comes to rolling out significantly improved security standards quickly and efficiently, everyone involved needs to be aware of the current state of the art and what is technologically feasible. Our security cooperation with the German Ministry of the Interior is one of the things Infineon undertakes in order to ensure that. Today, chip technology already provides the basis for the best possible security in connection with identity documents, computers and data communication."

Five-year cooperation
The German Ministry of the Interior and Infineon began working together in the summer of 2003 with the aim of establishing a sound technology basis for better security for public administration, business and the home user IT systems. On the ministry side, the Federal Office for Information Security is closely involved in the security cooperation.

Over the past five years, the discussions included smart card security as well as electronic components needed to elevate the trustworthiness of PCs and computer networks and to provide desktop and notebook PCs with more effective protection against viruses and unauthorized manipulation.

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