Third of Global Smartphones Sold in 2019 Had Hardware Security Embedded: Counterpoint


One-third of global smartphones sold in 2019 had security embedded in the hardware and the sales of such smartphones grew 39 percent year-on-year (YoY) in 2019, according to the latest report from Counterpoint Research.

Apple and Huawei implement embedded hardware security through a secure element (eSE/inSE) while Samsung uses a physically unclonable function (PUF).

“Smartphone users are increasingly storing personal and professional data including digital banking, payment and financial information on smartphones.

“This attracts cyber-attacks with victims losing real assets, such as money, personal data and loss of privacy. Securing smartphones should be a high priority for the smartphone industry,” Satyajit Sinha, Research Analyst, Counterpoint, said in a statement.

According to Counterpoint’s IoT Security Service, systems based on a secure element accounted for 89 percent of shipments, while those with a PUF represented 10 percent of secure smartphone sales in 2019.

“The secure element is a coprocessor within the SoC which assures tamper-resistance and is capable of securely hosting applications. From the iPhone 5s onwards, Apple has been embedding a secure enclave (eSE) provided by the Global Platform.

“Huawei also implemented an integrated secure element (inSE) on its SoCs, the HiSilicon Kirin 960, 970, 980, 990 and 710. Qualcomm has adopted the secure element as a secure processing unit (SPU) in the Snapdragon 845, 855 and 855+ which enables brands like Xiaomi, OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo, LG, Sony, Samsung, and Google to implement hardware embedded security in its premium smartphones,” Neil Shah, Counterpoint Research Vice President, noted.

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