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Google Titan

Google Titan is a security chip designed to protect computers from firmware-based rootkits and other malware-infecting firmware. Titan as a key element in Google's security and allows the company to boast that security for its Google Cloud Platform services goes to the hardware root of trust level.

Despite the large size implied by its name, the Titan chip is the size of a small stud earing. The chip may be built into a card or integrated into hardware that communicates with the rest of the system through Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) bus. Titan ensures that computer components use the last known good firmware state to prevent insertion of code into the firmware. This can prevent hardware being intercepted and implanted with malware or on-premise surreptitious malware implanting. 

To ensure that the firmware used in an installation remains tamper-proof, the Titan security system relies on a number of pieces of hardware and authenticated software:

  • Secure application processor
  • Embedded SRAM and flash memory
  • ROM
  • Hardware random number generator
  • Cryptographic coprocessor
  • Baseboard management
  • Sophisticated key hierarchy
  • Serial Peripheral Interface bus

Google uses Titan to protect YouTube, Google search and Gmail. Though bearing the same name, Titan is not related to the company that Google purchased in April 2014, which makes high altitude solar drones.

This was last updated in July 2018

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