Vault is a MicroSD card hardware security device, from Google.

Posted on 29 May 2015, Last updated on 02 February 2020 by

Google’s ATAP team has announced Vault, a hardware-based, cross-platform microSD card based solution for encryption of data both at rest or in transit.

Google Vault MicroSD Hardware

Google Vault MicroSD Hardware

ATAP is a Google unit that looks at Advanced Technologies and Products and among a number of their announcements on the Google IO stage in San Francisco was project Vault. With the help of former L0pht member .mudge ( Peiter Zatko) the team has developed a hardware encryption device that they think anyone, and any system can use. Starting with a developer kit and a business-focused customer based the team aims to solve the problem of encrypting communications by having a simple hardware unit (inside the MicroSD card) and a simple file system based input and output mechanism. The open-source developer board was demonstrated on stage.

vaultdemo vault

It looks simple, and that’s good because people and business don’t use security methods properly if they are too complex and time-consuming but inside there’s a “suite of cryptographic services” along with an NFC chip, a hardware random number generator and 4 GB of isolated sealed storage. “Two Vault users can communicate end-to-end without exposing any cryptographicly sensitive data to the host systems” says Zatko. Vault is operating system agnostic.

You’ll obviously need to trust Google though but with the development kit being fully open-source, including the CPU and the software this might become the best solution, even if you don’t trust Google. Don’t expect peer reviews to be done in a week though!

We haven’t found a Google page for the ATAP Vault project yet but the ATAP page (which redirects to project Tango) is here.

Similar: This isn’t the first MicroSD-based security solution on the market. Blackberry’s Secusmart unit has a similar solution for governments.

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