Google includes custom security chip in Pixel 3 smartphones

Android 9 P has been dubbed 'Pie' in Googles continuing love affair with sweet treats
TASTY: Android 9 ‘Pie’ takes advantage of the Titan M’s advanced hardware security features

Google’s latest Pixel 3 smartphones include a new “enterprise-grade” security chip that provides a range of features designed to increase the security of applications that make use of sensitive data, Google has revealed. The Google Pay team is currently “actively testing out” the Titan M’s mobile payments security features, the company adds.

“This year, with Pixel 3, we’re advancing our investment in secure hardware with Titan M, an enterprise-grade security chip custom built for Pixel 3 to secure your most sensitive on-device data and operating system,” Google says.

“With Titan M, we took the best features from the Titan chip used in Google Cloud data centers and tailored it for mobile.”

Titan M includes three main security features, Google explains. “First, to protect Android from outside tampering, we’ve integrated Titan M into Verified Boot, our secure boot process.”

“Pixel 3 also uses Titan M to verify your lock screen passcode. It makes the process of guessing multiple password combinations harder by limiting the amount of logon attempts, making it difficult for bad actors to unlock your phone. Only upon successful verification of your passcode will Titan M allow for decryption.”

“Third, Titan M is used not only to protect Android and its functionality, but also to protect third-party apps and secure sensitive transactions.

“With Android 9, apps can now take advantage of StrongBox KeyStore APIs to generate and store their private keys in Titan M. The Google Pay team is actively testing out these new APIs to secure transactions.

“For apps that rely on user interaction to confirm a transaction, Titan M also enables Android 9 Protected Confirmation, an API for protecting the most security-critical operations. As more processes come online and go mobile — like e-voting, and P2P money transfers — these APIs can help to ensure that the user (not malware) has confirmed the transaction. Pixel 3 is the first device to ship with this protection.”

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