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Titan M security chipset on Google Pixel 3 explained
Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL has a second gen Titan M chipset
Google recently launched the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL with the best smartphone camera, Snapdragon 845 SoC, wireless charging and more. One more interesting feature that users might not know about the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL smartphone is about the dedicated security chipset, the Titan M, which helps to secure the Pixel 3 series of smartphones at all the time. Here is the complete details on the Titan M security chipset on the latest smartphones from Google.
What is Titan M Security Chipset?
Titan M is a second generation security chipset, which is designed and manufactured by Google to handle security sensitive functions.
What does Titan M chipset do?
- Storing and enforcing Android Verification Boot counters
- Storing rate limiting invalid attempts to login into a device
- Control over the physical buttons, which disables misuse of the hardware buttons by hackers
- Enforcing factory-reset policies, where only the owner of the smartphone can reset or restore the smartphone
- Control over third-party software update or app update (even Google cannot install an update without owners consent)
How does Titan M chipset work?
The Titan M chipset is a separate chip, which reduces the attack surface from malware like Rowhammer, Spectre, and Meltdown, which are known to utilise hardware level exploits.
Titam M comes with dedicated memory, cache, and these are not shared with the rest of the smartphone, which will help to prevent from physical or software level attack.
Titan M is optimised for mobile experience with low power usage, low-latency, hardware crypto acceleration, tamper detection, and secure, timely firmware updates. Google also has control over the manufacturing of the Titan M chipset from an early stage, which eliminates any leaks.
Titan M specifications
The Titan M chipset is based on ARM Cortex-M3 coupled with 64 Kbytes of RAM. It also comes with extra protection against side-channel attacks and augmented with defensive features to detect and respond to abnormal conditions. The Titan M verifies the signature of its flash-based firmware using a public key built into the chip's silicon. If the signature is valid, the flash is locked so it can't be modified, and then the firmware begins executing.