Masabi, the secure mobile applications developer, has announced it has overcome an obstacle to m-commerce application uptake by using encrypted SMS to transfer data. Following a range of commercial and pilot launches the company found that providing SMS as a data option solves connection issues for the 40% to 50% of java application users who cannot connect through GPRS or 3G.
By using SMS, mobile commerce applications can still be used where there is minimal GRPS or 3G coverage or where the handset has incorrect mobile data settings. As the SMS is encrypted it also overcomes the security vulnerabilities inherent in SMS messaging infrastructure whilst also offering mobile users a data transfer method which is well understood both in terms of cost and technology.
Ben Whitaker, COO and head of security development at Masabi, stated: “Many consumers have been turned off using mobile applications by a combination of unclear costs, security concerns and incorrect settings. If it doesn’t work first time with a cost they can understand, it’s unlikely that any applications will ever go mass market. By combining our encryption technology with SMS we can deliver a great user experience that just works first time on a huge range of different phones.”
Using the system, Masabi’s applications automatically detect if the user’s phone has a working GPRS or 3G data connection, and falls back to SMS if they don’t. Masabi found that although subscribers with a working WAP connection can use it to download a mobile application, 40% to 50% of these subscriber don’t have a working Internet connection required for the application to send and receive data.
This SMS backup provides a seamless solution to the issues of poor signal strength, fast moving vehicles, international roaming, users without data contracts or users with incorrect data settings which plague a large proportion of mobile phones on networks globally. Additionally, users with no data contract, such as in the developing world, can side-load applications over cable, Infra-Red and Bluetooth, and then use the networked applications purely over SMS.
The system uses Masabi’s EncryptME security software to transmit end to end encrypted data in a single SMS between handsets and servers, even from legacy handsets that don’t provide any native security features. EncryptME is the only certified mobile java security module on the market and was recently validated by BT’s Cryptographic Laboratories to US government standards and in just 3Kb of memory provides equivalent security to the dominant PC web browsers.