Samsung Debuts Knox 2.0 Mobile Security Platform: MWC

Knox 2.0 provides users with enhanced container features such as support for most Android apps from the Google Play store.

Consumer electronics titan Samsung Electronics took the opportunity of this week's Mobile World Congress (MWC) convention in Barcelona, Spain, to roll out an update to Knox, its end-to-end secure mobile platform designed to provide advanced data and privacy protection for enterprise users.

Knox 2.0 provides users with enhanced container features such as support for most Android apps from the Google Play store, meaning there is no need to go through the wrapping process for third-party apps.

The platform also supports SE Android policy configurations for third-party containers, such as Good's secure container, Fixmo's SafeZone and MobileIron's AppConnect, so that these third-party containers receive the same level of HW-based protection as the Knox container receives.

The new features of Knox 2.0 will be commercially available in the second quarter, and once available, previous-generation Knox users will be able to upgrade to version 2.0 after upgrading to Android KitKat. Knox 2.0 will also come preinstalled on the newly launched Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone, the company noted.

"Thanks to the rapid adoption of Knox over the past 5 months since its first commercial availability, we needed to evolve the platform to meet the changing needs of our customers and the enterprise as a whole," JK Shin, president, CEO and head of the IT and mobile communications division at Samsung, said in a statement. "As a leading provider of Android devices, it is our mission to make the Android platform even more secure to lead the enterprise mobility market."

Upgraded features include TrustZone-Protected Certificate Management, a devicewide feature designed to generate and maintain client certificates inside TrustZone with additional support for industry standards, and which allows mobile devices to play the role of the smart card and its readers.

The Knox Key Store generates and maintains encryption keys inside the TrustZone-protected environment. It also allows third parties to utilize encryption for security-sensitive applications and makes sure that encrypted data is protected if the system is compromised.

Other features include real-time monitoring that both detects and prevents any unauthorized modifications to the kernel code; critical kernel data and system partition; encryption of data stored in the device through the TrustZone-protected encryption key, which can be disabled at the detection of system integrity compromise; and two-factor biometric authentication, which makes container access even more secure by requiring both password and fingerprint verification to authenticate.

In addition to the core features of Knox, Samsung announced new cloud-based services, Knox enterprise mobility management (EMM) and Knox Marketplace, an effort to broaden the Knox customer base by catering specifically to small and medium-size businesses (SMBs).

Since last October, when Knox first became commercially available, Samsung said it has sold more than 25 million Knox-enabled devices and has over 1 million active Knox users. On average, 210,000 Knox-enabled devices are being activated per month, equal to about 7,000 devices each day, a company statement claimed.

"With the new features of Knox 2.0 we are able to provide our users with a truly enterprise-ready mobile solution," Shin said. "We will continue to work hard and listen to both our partners and customers to constantly improve the Knox platform to meet these ever-changing needs."