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Android has the concept of hardware backed security as TEE and in latest Android i.e., Android Pie devices can have a HSM (Strongbox).

  1. What is the actual difference between TEE and HSM?
  2. Does Android HSM can be used as a cryptography solution such as a Whitebox solution?
  3. Does TEE can be used for the same purpose as mentioned in question 2?
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  • Does TEE refer to Trusted Execution Environment in this context?
    – forest
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 4:47
  • Yes, TEE refers to a Trusted Execution Environment.
    – SAR
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 6:58
  • 5
    Answered here stackoverflow.com/questions/52718019/…
    – Dori
    Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 12:37

1 Answer 1

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  1. What is the actual difference between TEE and HSM?

In Android Pie and later, TEE (Trusted Execution Environment) is a secure area within the main processor that provides a protected environment for trusted applications. It ensures isolation and security for tasks like biometric authentication and secure key storage.

HSM (Hardware Security Module) is a separate hardware component used for secure key storage and cryptographic operations. It offers tamper-resistant protection and is commonly used in enterprise environments for securing sensitive data and enabling secure communication.

  1. Does Android HSM(strongbox) can be used as a cryptography solution such as a Whitebox solutionn

No, the Android HSM (Strongbox) is not designed or intended to be used as a Whitebox cryptography solution. Android HSM, or Strongbox, is an implementation of an HSM-based Keystore for secure key storage and cryptographic operations in Android devices. It leverages dedicated hardware for enhanced security and protection of cryptographic keys. However, it is not designed to provide the specialized techniques and algorithms required for a complete Whitebox cryptography solution.

  1. Does TEE can be used for the same purpose as mentioned in question 2?

In the context of Whitebox cryptography, TEE can be leveraged to create a secure execution environment for cryptographic operations and key management. By running the Whitebox implementation within the TEE, the cryptographic algorithms and keys are protected from being exposed or tampered with, even if the device's operating system or other software components are compromised.

This holds true for latest Android release too.

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