“The Titan M is an enterprise-grade chip that works at the time of the system boot and can protect the Pixel 3 from hardware-level attacks”
Last year with Pixel 2, Google had introduced a dedicated tamper-resistant hardware security module for protecting the lock screen and strengthening disk encryption and this year they are taking this promise of security a step higher. The recently released Google Pixel 3 incorporates something called a Titan M chip, an enterprise-grade security chip custom built for the phone to secure your most sensitive on-device data and operating system.
Titan M is installed as a completely separate chip in Pixel 3, meaning that its processor, caches, memory, and persistent storage are not shared with the rest of the phone’s system. This physical isolation helps in protecting against an entire class of hardware-level exploits such as Rowhammer, Spectre, and Meltdown. Basically, it reduces the points of attack to make your Pixel more secure. In addition to this, Google says that the Titan M chip also contains many defences to protect against external attacks.
The chip is integrated into the system’s secure boot process, which allows it to save the last known safe version of Android and prevent attackers from moving the firmware to an older or insecure version. It can also block attempts to unlock the bootloader by an attacker. And to make life harder for anyone trying to bypass your lock screen passcode, Titan M limits the number of login attempts and only after it successfully verifies the passcode does it allow for decryption.
Lastly Titan M has been built with something called insider attack resistance, which means that even Google can’t unlock your phone or install firmware updates without your cooperation, or should we say permission. Considering the recent paranoia over cyber security, it no surprise that Google is investing so heavily in securing its device and also enlightening people about it. And with the new Titan M it seems to be checking all the boxes.