Few time ago I wrote about the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), and how promising it was. Few months ago, I mentionned the arrival of Trusty TEE in Android, an API allowing mobile application to interact with TEE based services. One can still wonder in 2016, where is that technology positioned.
A reminder about what is TEE. Well, it is always an isolated environment, shipped into smart phones, offering a way to deploy some code that will be securely stored and executed. It could support any mobile application that may require some sensitive operations and a trusted user interface, to insure what you see is what you sign.
But the major question when we come to nice technology is : “yeap, your stuff sounds cool, but, who on earth is using it ?”.
Well. Let’s see the facts. On the GlobalPlatform website, you can find 8 products that did success in the functional official certification. You can check this yourself here. Among the certified vendors, one can note Samsung.
And what does the silicon valley say about it ? A recent event allowed to have an overview of the market. It was the TEE Seminar that happened in October in Santa Clara. This is a regular seminar which is gathering the usual suspects of the TEE eco-system. Speakers include ARM, Visa, Trustonic (one of the well known TEE provider, a gemalto owned company), FIDO Alliance, Linaro (which offers an open source version of a TEE, named OP TEE), Ericsson, Verimatrix (guys in the game of the content distribution and IP TV), plus gemalto (my company) and G&D (one of my company competitors). The key topics of the TEE this year was Internet of Things. While the TEE technology seems to be distilled in the smartphone market via official products (see Samsung statement, Android Trusty TEE API and Secure Enclave [PDF] in iOS), the next wave ready to take benefit of it is about Internet of Things.
Any diverging creative geeks interested ? In the same October month, there was an interesting event which happened also in the silicon valley. A TEE hackathon #BuildWithTEE, dedicated to get benefit of the technology. It was organized by BeMyApp and GlobalPlatform. It happened that 100 people joined the hackathon over the week end. The pitch exciting moment was made of 22 smart ideas, 10 went until the end of the sunday and 3 winners shared 10 000 US dollars. The material provided to participants was a Linaro Open TEE loaded in a Raspberry Pi 3, and all they had to do was to play with Linux and impelment thier idea, with the objective to use key asset of the TEE, aka the security, on a client or a server side. Ideas that won were about monitoring door lockers when renting your house, deploying a privacy respectful tracking system, a centralized password management server. The IoT use cases were the major ones that the creative geeks wanted to explore.
So, to conclude, the TEE is a technology alive and kicking and will definitely support nice innovation in the field of all-and-everything-connected !
Note : Picture from https://www.pinterest.com/cdnmomma/for-the-of-europe/