Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom put mobile security in the spotlight

They are working on software for both companies and consumers

Telecom operators Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom are betting that in a post-Snowden world, "made in Germany" is more attractive than "made in U.S.A."

The need for more secure communications has been a hot topic in Germany since former US government contractor Edward Snowden made his revelations about National Security Agency (NSA) snooping.

The operators see the revelations, rightly or wrongly, as a golden opportunity to differentiate their products from competing U.S. offerings. As often as they can, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom are highlighting that the German credentials of two new security products that were announced on Sunday at the Cebit trade fair in Hanover.

Following the launch of encrypted voice calls last, Vodafone on Sunday announced the Secure E-mail service for German businesses. It can be used to send secure emails between smartphones, tablets and PCs, and will become available in September for €4.99 (US$5.25) per month and user.

The service was developed with German security company FTAPI Software and is based on that company's SecuPass technology, which works without users having to create or replace encryption keys manually.

While Vodafone concentrated on business customers, Deutsche Telekom has collaborated with four German IT security providers to put together security package for consumers and small and medium-sized companies.

The package will become available during the second quarter. It includes anti-virus software from Avira to protect smartphones and tablets running the iOS and Android as well as PCs and Macs. The Boxcryptor software from Secomba encrypts files before they are uploaded from the PC or smartphone to cloud providers such as Dropbox.

A premium version of the package with more features is planned, Deutsche Telekom said without offering any details what would be added.

The two telecom operators aren't alone in demonstrating services and products for improving mobile security at Cebit. On Saturday, BlackBerry-owned Secusmart presented the SecuTablet, a super-secure tablet based on the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 from Samsung.

The tablet uses software from IBM, Samsung and Secusmart's MicroSD encryption card to protect data and apps.

But this security doesn't come cheap: the SecuTablet will cost around €2,250 (US$2,380) including encryption card, the necessary app-wrapping and management software, and a year's maintenance contract.

Another option for enterprises that want a tablet with better security is the upcoming Blackphone+ tablet from Swiss company Silent Circle, which plans to launch the product in second half of the year. The company hasn't yet announced what it will cost.

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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