Keeping data safe on a billion and a half cellphones

Red Bend is the world’s most popular solution for safe over-the-air software updates for smart devices

Roger Ordman (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Roger Ordman (Photo credit: Courtesy)

An Israeli company is responsible for nearly three quarters of the wireless software updates for cell phones around the world. Red Bend, which has developed a secure firmware over-the-air (FOTA) system, allows users to get automatic operating system and firmware updates on their cellphones. It’s used by more than 80 mobile operators and device manufacturers to manage updates on more than 1.6 billion mobile phones.

This week Red Bend is on a new phone — LG Electronics’ new Optimus G smartphone, which will use Red Bend’s vRapid Mobile FOTA updating software and vDirect Mobile device management software. It’s the latest of more than 100 LG mobile phone models that are Red Bend-enabled, said the company.

One of the reasons the world has migrated to smartphones — those all-in-one devices for talking, texting, surfing, game playing, and who knows what else — is their convenience, and the fact that users can be connected anywhere, anytime, without the need for tethering. All communications are done over the air, but over-the-air connections are notoriously insecure — insecure enough that companies fear that hackers, or industrial spies, could “poison” phone firmware with rogue files, causing usage failures and data theft.

It was a problem Red Bend predicted back at the inception of the cellular age more than a decade ago, said Roger Ordman, Red Bend’s director of product marketing. “As people integrate devices more into their daily lives they become more dependent on them, and we are all increasingly concerned about the insecurity of our sensitive data on less than secure public networks,” Ordman said.

“We make products that let companies update firmware, but also let them manage assets on devices, creating a secure environment for business apps,” said Ordman. “Companies can open or close data streams using our products, providing more security for their workers and keeping their data safe.” Using dozens of patented security tricks, Red Bend’s system delivers software and data updates to users, with the data protected from the prying eyes of hackers and crackers.

Red Bend started out as an Israeli company, and currently has its largest R&D facility here (it has an additional facility in France, which Red Bend acquired when it bought French company VirtualLogix in 2010). Now, the company has sales offices in the US, UK, France, China, Japan, and Korea.

Red Bend is, as mentioned, on plenty of phones, and more are added every week. But the addition of LG’s new Optimus G smartphone is a time for celebration, the company said; according to reviewers, the Optimus G will give Samsung’s best phones, and perhaps even the iPhone, a run for their money, because it’s a very good product, according to reviewers.

Commenting on the new addition, John Seo, Red Bend’s country manager for Korea, said that “LG Electronics was our first customer in Korea and we are delighted that our strategic relationship continues to grow. We are excited that Optimus G customers around the world will benefit from receiving the latest features and software improvements directly to their phones, thanks to Red Bend,” Seo said.

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