Apple and Huawei implement embedded hardware security through a secure element (eSE/inSE). Samsung uses a physically unclonable function (PUF).

Sales of smartphones with embedded hardware security (secure smartphones) grew 39% year-on-year (YoY) in 2019, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s IoT Security Service.

Global Smartphone Sales with Embedded Hardware Security Market Share in 2018 vs. 2019. Source: Global Secure Smartphone Sales by Model Tracker 2019.

Commenting on the importance of smartphone security, Counterpoint Research Analyst, Satyajit Sinha, noted, “Smartphone users are increasingly storing personal and professional data including digital banking, payment and financial information on smartphones. This attracts cyber-attacks with victims losing real assets, such as money, personal data and loss of privacy. Securing smartphones should be a high priority for the smartphone industry.”

Mr. Sinha added further, “Traditionally, mobile security was mostly about software applications, however, with the increased threats, there is a need to secure hardware at one end and data at the other. There is a rising need for end-to-end security. Secure chipsets like eSE, PUFs, and TPMs embedded in the smartphone are currently the best solution to meet increased security needs.”

Commenting on the competitive landscape in the secure chipset market, Counterpoint Research Vice President, Research, Neil Shah, noted, “The eSE is a coprocessor within the SoC which assures tamper-resistance and is capable of securely hosting applications. From the iPhone 5s onwards, Apple has been embedding a secure enclave (eSE) provided by the Global Platform. The communication within the eSE and application processor is isolated, which secures data from malware attacks. Huawei also implemented an inSE on its SoCs, the HiSilicon Kirin 960, 970, 980, 990 and 710.

Mr. Shah further added, “Samsung implements a PUF, that serves as a unique identifier in the Exynos 9820 and 9825. Where Google takes a different approach by implementing a TPM (Trust Platform Module), into the PCBs of its Pixel series smartphones.”

The comprehensive and in-depth report on “Global Secure Smartphone Sales by Model” is a part of our Security service. This report is available for download here.

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