Sony introduced the wena Active and Pro wristbands, smart straps that let you turn any analog watch into a smart watch. Simply attach one of the bands to a traditional watch head, and your timepiece now supports three of the most popular smart-watch features: messaging, activity logging, and mobile payments. The wena wristbands are remarkable in that they enable mobile transactions to analog devices in the most secure way.
How can Secure Mobile Payments Become a Reality For Any Device?
Sony used NXP’s mWallet 2GO service, a white-label solution for enabling secure consumer services, such as mobile payments, as the basis for the wena wristbands’ payment features. Based on NXP’s Loader Service technology, mWallet 2GO allows wena owners to digitize multiple payment cards into their devices and dynamically switch between them when paying at point-of-sale (POS).
mWallet 2GO uses a NXP Secure Element (SE), a built-for-purpose circuit, providing hardware security and extra layers of defense. The silicon-based approach is considered a very strong form of security because hardware defenses are, by and large, much harder to break than software defenses.
With a SE, the information needed for payment transactions is securely stored in tamper-resistant memory. Once a payment transaction has been authorized to take place, the SE provides the necessary information, including a device token (known as a Device Primary Account Number or DPAN) and a transaction-specific dynamic security code (also called a cryptogram) to the store’s POS terminal. The actual payment card number is never shared, and the DPAN token is never stored on mWallet 2GO servers or backed up to any other cloud service. Additionally, the tokens used for payment transactions can be suspended remotely, making it easier to prevent illicit transactions if the device that houses the SE is lost or stolen.
In order to verify the user of the wearable in a payment transactions as a legitimate owner of that device, Sony has set up a PIN entry mechanism on the companion device, typically the user’s mobile phone. wena users create a PIN before the first card is being tokenized, which they are asked to re-enter regularly for a seamless tap-to-pay experience.
The SE Difference
While the key benefit of NXP’s mWallet 2GO service is its highly integrated nature as it includes leading hardware technology, surrounding software and ecosystem integration, it also is unique in the way it allows for scalability with no compromise on security. Using a SE makes it harder for hackers and malware to access or use private information, and it’s nearly impossible to bypass security mechanisms and tamper with operation. The SE doesn’t interfere with the end-user experience, since it works deep in the background of the system while protecting against the latest, most sophisticated, and often most damaging types of attacks.
Placing sensitive information in a dedicated SE, and not in a section of the main processor, is a more complete way to isolate and protect private information. The SE is a tamper-resistant IC with its own storage, memory, and processing resources, so it doesn’t need to access the cache or RAM used by the main processor. That’s important when it comes to surviving a particular type of attack, called a side-channel or shared-resource attack, which does damage by taking advantage of irregularities in the interactions between components.
Sony’s wena bands are the perfect example of how NXP’s mWallet 2GO can make any device a payment device. The white label wallet solution allows every OEM to create their own Pay solution in the most integrated way, while the secure implementation reassures consumers that their sensitive data is being kept private at all time. This first live deployment of mWallet 2GO further contributes to NXP’s ambition to help solve mobile payment security concerns through scalable but always secure mobile payment solutions. Read more about NXP’s mWallet 2GO platform.