January 5, 2021

Isolation of hardware private keys

  • by Lucas Mohammed
  • 11 Days ago
  • Comments Off

After Ledger钱包, you have to use both private and public keys in managing the crypto assets. The crypto assets are what is deposited in the public address with the owner spending then with the unique private key.

The hardware wallet are made in such a way that, it becomes impossible to access the private keys which they protect, as they never leave the device. It is referred to as the principle of isolation also called the cold storage. You will never find the private keys hot or online, denoting, they will not be exposed to the users on the internet or the computer where they are connected.

To ensure that the isolation is of high level, the Ledger Nano S uses Secure Element. The SE is where the private keys are stored and comprises of a limited ability of interacting with the other parts of the device. The SE is able to also verify the device’s integrity, ensuring that it is not tampered with and can be trusted fully.

Because your hardware is your last line of defense, you have to understand the importance of having to use a tank instead of using a car when going to war.

The operating system

The microcontroller needs an operating system so that it manages the processing environment. The Secure Element are not exceptional to that. But most of the operating systems for the Secure Elements tend to be old and thus, lack the flexibility and the openness that is required in dealing with the modern crypto currency applications.

Most of the coins that are compatible with the ledger devices seem to have been developed by the third parties with each of the applications undergoing testing that is strict.

Road to certification

A fair question to ask would be; how to know when the hardware wallet is doing what it does best. Speaking on general terms, it is an interrogation that applies to any model for security.  One of the answers could be that, it is possible to read the code source on your own, compile after analyzing, assembling the hardware wallet and having to check everything on your end.

While in principle it is an approach which is okay, it is one that is not practical and thus, not compatible with product in the market that is in mass.  You might wonder what if by preventing ledger from issuing rogue firmware ends up updating themselves.

The answer is that, you will have to think of what you will have to gain versus what you will lose. An attack that is sponsored internally could apart from being spotted quickly, and traced, it will affect profits, making them to go less than what the future of the ledger equity is worth on the market.

Now you understand why the hardware wallets are the way which is recommended of having to keep crypto assets in a safe way and the reason why the ledger nano S tends to be the most popular in the world.

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