Panasonic, Red Bend Software Protect Personal Data on Android Smartphones

Panasonic teamed with Red Bend Software to develop a new solution to protect personal data such as photos, videos, documents and emails stored on Android smartphones. The new solution will be integrated into its future smartphone models. The solution prevent leakage of personal data from lost smartphones and unintended behavior of downloaded applications.

Feature phones include a protection mechanism called “secret mode” or “privacy mode” in their phones by developing dedicated application software and dedicated content file formats as a set. Smartphones, on the other hand, include applications developed by third-parties in an open source environment. This makes it difficult to offer personal content protection with a set of dedicated application software and dedicated content file formats.

In the new solution, a new mechanism was constructed to configure a folder to protect and store personal data. This protected area inside the smartphone is isolated from the Android platform, using a virtual machine. This enables control access to the folder containing the personal contents via the menu on the smartphone and application software on Android. As a result, the new solution will protect personal data by requiring personal authentication.

Technology Features

  • A folder with protection function, which is virtually isolated from Android platform and accessible from application software on Android platform, is configured under lock/unlock control. Because the Android platform itself has not been modified, standard Android application software can be used normally.
  • Since the folder to store data is locked and unlocked just like a safety box, many kinds of content file formats such as private photos, videos, memo pads, or other documents can be protected. In regards to e-mails, they can also be easily protected by assigning message folders to this folder with protection function.

The new solution has been achieved using the following key technologies:

Multiple OS implementation technology on a single CPU by means of virtualization software
By utilizing Red Bend’s mobile virtualization software, vLogix Mobile, it is possible to enable the coexistence of multiple OS’s running on a single CPU. Panasonic and Red Bend created an environment in which a Linux-based OS and the Android platform coexist.

Implementation of a folder with protection function on Linux OS which can be accessed with authentication from application software on Android platform
Information that a user wants to protect is stored in a folder that is not on the Android platform, but on the Linux OS. The folder is disclosed to Android platform under a certified condition only. Previously, dedicated application software was required for each OS when multiple OS’s are running on the virtualization software. However, by utilizing the new technology, Android applications can be used normally. In addition, this technology can even be applied to the various applications developed by third-parties.

Protection technology for OS executable codes by encryption
The entire Linux environment, including authentication services, is encrypted in ROM (Read Only Memory). This increases the level of security by preventing reverse engineering of an authentication service process or preventing attacks that try to modify this code.

More info: Panasonic Corporation