Google’s Project Vault is a secure computer stuffed into a microSD card

Google’s Project Vault is a secure computer stuffed into a microSD card

Project-vault-googleio

Image: Pete Pachal/Mashable

Several years ago, Intel showed off Edison, a prototype of an entire low-powered computer contained inside of a postage stamp-sized SD card.

Google has now made an even smaller computer — sort of.

On the second day of its annual Google I/O developers conference on Friday, Google unveiled Project Vault, a secure computer that fits into a microSD card slot (yes, those little memory cards you put in your phone to expand the storage).

Designed by Google’s ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) group, Project Vault is technically a computer, but it’s not for regular computing. It’s a new way to communicate securely and authenticate without entering passwords.

Project Vault has an ARM-based processor (the same kind you’d find in most smartphones and tablets), NFC and an antenna. It’s also got 4GB of “isolated, sealed” internal storage. The teeny tiny computer runs a custom Real Time Operating System (RTOS).

In one demo, Google showed how two users can chat with each other using their Vault-equipped smartphones.

Because the chats are encrypted and sent through Vault’s encrypted channel, the chat data is never sent through the phone; carriers can’t snoop on you.

Because the chats are encrypted and sent through Vault’s encrypted channel, the chat data is never sent through the phone; carriers can’t snoop on you. Edward Snowden would be proud of Vault, for sure.Google says you’ll also be able to encrypt video with Vault.

“Authentication sucks.” Google vice president of engineering Regina Dugan said. “Passwords suck.”

With Project Vault, instead of entering easily crackable password strings, Vault can tap into new security models like the ability to authenticate users based on things like typing patterns and activity usage. ATAP calls this a “trust score” and says that it’s up to 10 times more secure than simply typing in a password.

For example, if you use Chrome and YouTube a lot throughout a day, but then another user takes your Vault-equipped phone and their usage pattern doesn’t match yours, the device will know something fishy is going on, and that it’s likely not you using it.

Interested developers can find ATAP’s open source development kit for Vault on github here.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

December 8, 2015 / by / in , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Scooblrinc.com is a website owned and operated by Scooblr, Inc. By accessing this website and any pages thereof, you agree to be bound by the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, as amended from time to time. Scooblr, Inc. does not verify or assure that information provided by any company offering services is accurate or complete or that the valuation is appropriate. Neither Scooblr nor any of its directors, officers, employees, representatives, affiliates or agents shall have any liability whatsoever arising, for any error or incompleteness of fact or opinion in, or lack of care in the preparation or publication, of the materials posted on this website. Scooblr does not give advice, provide analysis or recommendations regarding any offering, service posted on the website. The information on this website does not constitute an offer of, or the solicitation of an offer to buy or subscribe for, any services to any person in any jurisdiction to whom or in which such offer or solicitation is unlawful.