Intel, Broadcom Look to Secure IoT Payments

Intel is partnering with Ingenico to develop devices to secure credit card payments, while Broadcom's new chips offer integrated NFC capabilities.

mobile security

Intel and Broadcom are putting a focus on enabling secure and mobile payments as the Internet of things continues to grow.

Intel is partnering with European payment solutions provider Ingenico Group to develop a tablet that will support near-field communication (NFC) and Eurocard, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) chip cards—payment methods that banks use to help thwart credit card fraud, according to officials with both companies.

That announcement came a day after Broadcom unveiled new microcontrollers (MCUs) with integrated NFC support to enable a range of connected devices—including those that make up the Internet of things (IoT), as well as PCs and point-of-sale (POS) terminals—to securely accept mobile payments. The new BCM58100 family of MCUs is an expansion of Broadcom's StrataGX portfolio of chips.

The moves by Intel and Broadcom come as the IoT continues to grow, with Cisco Systems officials predicting that the number of devices, systems and sensors—from home appliance and cars to smartphones, notebooks, industrial systems, medical equipment and smart city technologies—that are connected to the Internet and each other will grow from 25 billion last year to more than 50 billion by 2020.

"The rapid proliferation of smart devices connected to the Internet has led to serious concerns regarding the safety of consumer and business data," Christopher Moezzi, senior director of StrataGX processor marketing, compute and connectivity for Broadcom, said in a statement. "By delivering premium security and industry leading performance in a power-efficient design, Broadcom's latest secure MCUs continue our leadership in mPOS [mobile POS] terminals and extend our reach into small, low-power connected devices."

Officials with Intel and Ingenico said they are focusing on October. Right now, banks are responsible for fraudulent charges on credit cards, a burden that costs them $14 billion a year, the officials said. Starting in October, the banks are requiring retailers to upgrade their POS equipment to support EMV chips or take on the responsibility for recovering money lost through fraud.

Intel and Ingenico will combine the chip maker's Data Protection Technology for Transactions and Ingenico's payment acceptance technology into mobile and other solutions in the United States and Canada. The first of these offerings will be jointly developed tablets that will be powered by Intel's low-power Atom systems-on-a-chip (SoCs). Looking ahead, this effort will include efforts and services for other IoT devices and systems, including smart vending machines, digital signage and kiosks, officials said.

"The shift in liability this October will be a major milestone in the United States for banks and credit card companies, but especially for retailers," Doug Davis, senior vice president and general manager for Intel's IoT Group, said in a statement.

The goal of the partnership with Ingenico is to offer retailers devices that are easy to deploy and manage while also increasing the security around payments.

Both companies were at the Transact 15 Convention and Expo this week in San Francisco talking about their plans.

Broadcom officials said the new BCM58100 MCUs will give device makers a way of increasing the security of their products at a time when the demand for mobile payment capabilities is growing. The processors also enable OEMs to build products that are smaller and more power-efficient.

The ARM-based MCUs use the BroadSAFE architecture to protect against tampering while offering encryption, secure storage and safe processing of information both from the card and from biometric technologies, such as fingerprint, eye, and facial-recognition capabilities. The chips are complaint with the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) and support Payment Card Industry (PCI) and EMV requirements.

The BCM58100 MCUs also include integrated NFC capabilities that enable tap-to-access, to-pair and to-pay applications. According to analysts with Business Insider Intelligence, devices are increasingly becoming NFC-capable and the number of mPOS terminals that support NFC will grow to more than 50 million by 2018.

Along with the BroadSAFE architecture and integrated NFC and EMV smartcard readers, the new MCUs include 512KB of memory, support for Bluetooth Low Energy products, system I/O integration that includes USB H/D and SMBus, and a 10-by-10mm footprint for smaller designs. The chips are now sampling with device makers, according to Broadcom officials.