At a media event in the Chinese capital last week, Gionee previewed its flagship phone, the M6, with some of the tightest security features to appear on any handset. With smartphones increasingly used as payment platforms, the company has crafted an integrated hardware security solution that will debut in China-- then be offered in other large markets like India in versions that adhere to local regulations.
The M6 unveiled for its home market, houses an encrypted chip to secure the owners' personal data. This is because in China, there is no text message-based One Time Password or OTP. So the phone needs to ensure a secure financial transaction. To meet Indian regulation, the M6 that will be available in India before Diwali, will not feature this chip, but a front finger-print scanner and enhanced malware prevention. Gionee said it will work with the authorities in every country to localize such features to meet prevalent regulations. The M6 is a 5.5-inch full HD Android 6.0 phone with 4GB RAM, 64GB storage and a combination of 13MP rear and 8MP front cameras.
Meanwhile the two factor authentication using OTP may itself be under challenge. Last week, in new draft guidelines, the US National Institute of Standards Technology says it will no longer recommend using SMS for text messages for security purposes since there is risk that information may be intercepted or redirected. However not all experts agree: Kevin Panzavecchia, CTO of mobile network security experts HAUD argues that it is possible to fix the vulnerabilities associated with mobile network hacks, and that the benefits of the system still outweigh the negatives. "It is still the clear front runner", he says.
These trends will only hasten the day when our phones will provide the authoritative answer to the question: 'Am I, who I say I am?'