Infineon and the German Federal Ministry of the Interior Widen Security Cooperation to Include Certification and Identity Documents

Jun 30, 2008 | Business & Financial Press

Neubiberg and Berlin, Germany – June 30, 2008 – Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) and semiconductor manufacturer Infineon Technologies are to continue working together in the area of IT security. Federal Minister of the Interior Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble and Infineon’s CEO Peter Bauer today met in Berlin to discuss intensifying the already extensive cooperation on security between the BMI and Infineon that began five years ago.

Areas in which the Ministry and Infineon plan to extend their technology dialog include security certification and identity documents.

“As today’s information society becomes increasingly mobile, we need highly sophisticated security safeguards. Through systematic use of security solutions, Germany can spearhead the deployment of advanced security applications in industry, transportation, energy supply networks, and IT infrastructure. One example is the electronic passport,” said Interior Minister Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble.

Certification: Ensuring Quantifiability and Comparability of Manipulation Safeguards

Manipulation safeguards need to be quantifiable and comparable, and certification standards play a central role in achieving this. Matters of discussion between the Ministry of the Interior and Infineon include not just methods for proving compliance with security standards for applications, complete solutions and individual products and services, but also recommendations concerning institutions and independent certification bodies responsible for confirming certificates and periods of validity.

The whole issue of security certification will become increasingly important in the future, as not just data communication but also a growing number of applications (electronic prescriptions in the healthcare sector, for example) and products (such as mobile readers carried by doctors on patient visits) will have to incorporate accredited security features.

New Electronic ID Card

The Ministry and Infineon also plan to include new EU-wide identity documents into their dialog. The EU’s member states have a total population of almost 500 million people, and the number of ID cards currently in circulation is estimated at 380 million. Given that ID cards are the most widely used type of travel document inside the EU, it is expected that the same security technology as used in electronic passports will also be implemented in electronic ID cards. The German Ministry of the Interior has already announced a program to this effect, as have governments and interior ministries in Poland, Italy, Spain and France.

Security, along with energy efficiency and communication, is a core focus for Infineon. For many years now, we have led the world market in chips for smart card applications and we’re a technology leader in silicon-based security,” said Peter Bauer, CEO and Head of Infineon Technologies’ Automotive, Industrial and Multimarket Business Group. “When it comes to rolling out significantly improved security standards quickly and efficiently, everyone involved needs to be aware of the current state of the art and what is technologically feasible. Our security cooperation with the German Ministry of the Interior is one of the things Infineon undertakes in order to ensure that. Today, chip technology already provides the basis for the best possible security in connection with identity documents, computers and data communication.”

Five Years of Security Cooperation

The German Ministry of the Interior and Infineon began working together in the summer of 2003 with the aim of establishing a sound technology basis for better security for public administrations’, businesses’ and the home users’ IT systems. On the Ministry side, the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) is closely involved in the security cooperation.

Over the past five years, the discussions included smart card security as well as electronic components needed to elevate the trustworthiness of personal computers and computer networks and to provide desktop and notebook PCs with more effective protection against viruses and unauthorized manipulation.

About Infineon

Infineon Technologies AG, Neubiberg, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions addressing three central challenges to modern society: energy efficiency, communications, and security. In the 2007 fiscal year (ending September), the company reported sales of Euro 7.7 billion (including Qimonda sales of Euro 3.6 billion) with approximately 43,000 employees worldwide (including approximately 13,500 Qimonda employees). With a global presence, Infineon operates through its subsidiaries in the U.S. from Milpitas, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore, and in Japan from Tokyo. Infineon is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX).

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