HANNOVER, Germany—Security is always an important part of the CeBIT technology trade show here, but this year, new concerns are on the rise for businesses in Europe and beyond.
Adding to those concerns are the continuing disclosures of classified documents describing U.S. cyber-surveillance activities by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
Also of concern are efforts by the U.S. Justice Department to gain access to data on a Microsoft server based in Europe containing email created by a European Union citizen. A Microsoft spokesperson told media attendees of the CeBIT preview that a new data center being built in Germany will not be accessible from the United States.
These developments and threats from around the world are making EU businesses and citizens more conscious about the need for stronger data security.
In fact, most of the security announcements at the CeBIT 2016 Press Preview address concerns that were only beginning to bubble to the surface a year ago when eWEEK was last here. The press preview highlighted the companies and technologies that will be on display March 14-18 at what is billed as the world’s biggest technology trade show.
Three prominent examples of that include support for new, non-BlackBerry mobile platforms from BlackBerry security technology subsidiary Secusmart, several major new security products for the Internet of things from EuroTech and new standards for payments from Six Group, the company that runs the Swiss stock exchange. In fact, companies from Switzerland, long a leader in security because of the nation’s critical role in banking, were prominent this year.
BlackBerry is demonstrating that it’s moving beyond support for its own legacy mobile devices with an announcement from its Secusmart subsidiary that the highly regarded SecuSuite for Enterprise will bring the encryption capabilities of the Secusmart chip to Android and iOS mobile operating systems in addition to devices running BlackBerry OS.
The Secusmart enterprise software supports secure, encrypted voice calling along with secure text messaging. BlackBerry acquired Secusmart in September 2014 to bolster the security capabilities of the company’s BlackBerry mobile handsets.
The Secusmart software is the same as the software on the Secusmart chip, which is approved by NATO for handling classified information. While the software isn’t approved for the transmission of classified information (because it’s software), it should be as secure as the solution that German Chancellor Angela Merkel used to keep the world’s spy agencies out of her phone.
“With SecuSuite for Enterprise, Secusmart has unveiled the very first BlackBerry service that can truly be used worldwide and with absolutely any network operator. At CeBIT, we will be presenting a treasure chest full of security solutions,” Dr. Christoph Erdmann, CEO of Secusmart, told eWEEK.
Erdmann demonstrated the iOS version of its secure software to eWEEK at the press preview. He noted that the new software should remain compatible with other secure voice products such as the recently announced Vodafone Secure Call app.
European Security Technology to Grab Spotlight at CeBIT 2016
“BlackBerry is using these systems to expand its portfolio and to continue in the direction of providing software products and services for corporate clients,” he said later in a prepared statement.
As I found out last year at this event, the Internet of things (IoT) is a big worry in Europe because of its threat to privacy. Last year, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology was showing off a means of anonymizing everyday IoT communications such as automated water or electric meters. The idea there was that many German citizens don’t want the government knowing how much water or power they consume.
This year, the focus has shifted slightly to the actual content of IoT communications such as what someone might be watching on television. For this reason Eurotech, which is based in Italy but has offices worldwide, has introduced a compact IoT security and encryption device intended for small business and home use. These multiservice gateways, as Eurotech calls them, will handle inputs from a variety of sources before they combine and encrypt them for transmission over the Internet.
Eurotech has a broad product base that’s widely deployed in industry and government. For example, its ruggedized units are commonly used on everything from mining equipment to rail cars, where they must be capable of handling temperature extremes, vibration and other environmental stresses.
These devices are used on the rail cars in the Washington, D.C., Metro system, for example. The new devices use the same Java-based software as the devices that have been in business and industrial service for years.
Security companies in Switzerland made themselves known in a bigger way at this year’s CeBIT preview. SIX Group, which is the organization that runs the Swiss stock exchange, is highlighting its role in financial transaction security. In addition to providing secure communications for stock transactions, SIX also supports payment card security in Europe and the U.S. The company will use CeBIT to demonstrate its role in financial security.
Swiss security company AdNovum was showing its Nevis Security Suite. This package includes an authentication service, a reverse proxy, identity management and a reporting service. This package has been available for a while, but this is the first time that AdNovum is really making itself known outside of Europe. The company is trading on the “Swiss Made” concept, apparently in an effort to convince potential customers that the quality is equivalent to one of that nation’s fine handmade watches.
Of course, there’s a lot more happening at CeBIT in March than just security, but the planned events and product announcements make it clear that once again security technology will be prominent at the show.
But this year there are changes in what’s being introduced that will quickly begin to show new trends in how IT looks at security and in how security affects IT. The Internet of things and transaction security are only two areas where you can expect to see changes coming.