Qualcomm adds fingerprint authentication support for WeChat mobile payment service

February 18, 2016 - 

Qualcomm has become the first company to support hardware-backed biometric fingerprint authentication capabilities for Tencent’s WeChat mobile payment service, enabled by the Qualcomm Haven security platform’s authentication framework.

As a result, WeChat users will be able to authenticate themselves using their fingerprints when conducting online transactions on mobile devices, rather than entering PIN codes or passwords.

The Qualcomm Haven authentication framework supports the Tencent-developed SOTER protocol for security authentication, which includes the fingerprint matching, processing, local storage, and communication to Tencent’s cloud servers.

The biometric fingerprint technology is currently shipping in the Qualcomm Snapdragon All Mode powered Vivo X6 device in China, and will be integrated in multiple smartphones over the coming months.

“The Qualcomm Haven platform’s authentication framework supports convenient, robust security and the latest mobile payment standards,” said Sy Choudhury, senior director of product management at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Users can now simply rely on their finger, face, or eye for account access and conducting online transactions using their mobile devices – all while being reassured that each step of the process is being executed with hardware-level security. PIN codes and passwords, which are cumbersome and vulnerable to data theft, are no longer needed.”

Similar to other Qualcomm Haven security solutions, the Qualcomm Haven authentication framework is based in hardware, ensuring greater protection of private user data and biometric data independent of apps or the operating system.

In the event of an operating system-level attack, the information stored in hardware will still be protected.

The Qualcomm Haven security platform is developed specifically for Snapdragon processors, which enables Qualcomm Haven to be fully integrated throughout the entire system for optimized security and efficiency.

Developed by Tencent, the WeChat social communication application had 650 million monthly active user accounts in and out of China as of September 2015.

Secure biometric fingerprint authentication support for WeChat’s payment service is being made available in the Snapdragon 400, 600, and 800 processor tiers.

Qualcomm Technologies will be demonstrating support for secure WeChat payment service on the Snapdragon-powered All Mode Vivo X6 handset, along with other Qualcomm Haven platform components, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from February 22-25.

Last month at CES, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkompf announced that the upcoming Letv Le Max Pro smartphone will be the first phone to feature the Snapdragon 820 processor and Qualcomm Snapdragon Sense ID fingerprint technology with liveness detection.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.