It starts with the Tensor security core. This “custom designed security subsystem” is comprised of a dedicated CPU, ROM, one-time-programmable (OTP) memory, crypto engine, internal SRAM, and protected DRAM. It is logically and physically “distinct from the application processor.”
In practice, the Pixel 6 leverages the Tensor security core to protect user data keys at runtime, harden secure boot, and interface with Titan M2.
Meanwhile, Titan M2 is the company’s second-generation security chip with an in-house designed processor that’s based on the RISC-V architecture. “Fully designed and developed by Google,” it provides extra speed, memory, and is “more resilient to advanced attacks.”
Titan M2™ has been tested against the most rigorous standard for vulnerability assessment, AVA_VAN.5, by an independent, accredited evaluation lab. Titan M2™ supports Android Strongbox, which securely generates and stores keys used to protect your PINs and password, and works hand-in-hand with Google Tensor security core to protect user data keys while in use in the SoC.
Elsewhere, the Tensor’s main processors use ARM’s TrustZone technology, while the Trusty OS serves as the open source trusted execution environment for TrustZone and the Tensor security core.
Besides the Android 12 Security hub, Privacy Dashboard, and camera/microphone toggles, the Pixel 6 lets you prevent connections to less-secure 2G networks: Settings > Network & internet > SIM. The exception is for emergency calling.
While necessary in certain situations, accessing 2G networks can open up additional attack vectors; this toggle helps users mitigate those risks when 2G connectivity isn’t needed.
Google Play Protect has also been updated to make use of “new machine learning models that improve the detection of malware.”
More on Pixel 6:
- Google details more ways the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro cameras use Tensor
- Shot for Shot: Pixel 6 Pro’s telephoto lens rounds out the experience, but is 4x enough?
- There’s no face unlock on the Pixel 6 despite early hints suggesting otherwise
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