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ELLIPAL TITAN

🔍 Last analysed 3rd December 2021 . No source for current release found

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The Analysis 

Ellipal claims to go beyond being a hardware wallet. It describes itself as an “Air-gapped cold storage hardware wallet” with no possibility of connecting to the Internet at all. It is also described as having anti-tampering and anti-disassembly features. The makers claim that the “chip will delete every data when it detects a breach”.

Private keys can be created offline

Since the device is air-gapped, the private keys are generated offline.

Private keys are not shared

The means for Ellipal to connect to the Internet and make a transaction occur through a companion app that could be installed on Android or iOS. The hardware wallet communicates with this companion app via a QR code. Ellipal claims that that the QR code does not transmit or share the private keys. Ellipal has published the specifications for their use of the QR code on Github (PDF file).

Device displays receive address for confirmation

The Ellipal hardware wallet is very dependent on the downloadable companion app because the user needs to have the two devices on hand in order to send a transaction. A tutorial on how to send transactions is described here.

When sending transactions, the companion app generates an “unsigned data QR code”. The user then uses the Ellipal hardware wallet to “sign” this transaction by scanning the QR code that was generated by the companion app. Once the QR code has been scanned, the transaction details are presented this time on the Ellipal device. The user has to confirm this. Once confirmed, the Ellipal device then generates its own signed data QR code using the companion app. The user then has to scan the signed data QR code generated on the Ellipal hardware wallet using the companion app. Only then will the transaction be consummated.

Interface

The device has the basic appearance of a smart phone, with a camera and a touchscreen.

This is a video demonstration of how the Ellipal Titan functions.

Reproducibility

Ellipal believes that open source does not necessarily mean better security.

Open-source is indeed useful for users and experts to perform audits and do reviews. However, open-source doesn’t lead to safer solutions naturally.

Occasionally, open-source can be cracked easily by hackers because the resources, codes, and utilities are readily available. There are many vulnerabilities on open source products such as the Trezor, the most famous open-source hardware wallet. *Ref 1. Unfixable Seed Extraction on Trezor - A practical and reliable attack. **Ref 2. Crack Trezor in 15minutes.

They are open about being closed source and thus not verifiable.

(ml, dg)

Verdict Explained

Without public source of the reviewed release available, this product cannot be verified!

As part of our Methodology, we ask:

Is the source code publicly available? If not, we tag it No Source!

A wallet that claims to not give the provider the means to steal the users’ funds might actually be lying. In the spirit of “Don’t trust - verify!” you don’t want to take the provider at his word, but trust that people hunting for fame and bug bounties could actually find flaws and back-doors in the wallet so the provider doesn’t dare to put these in.

Back-doors and flaws are frequently found in closed source products but some remain hidden for years. And even in open source security software there might be catastrophic flaws undiscovered for years.

An evil wallet provider would certainly prefer not to publish the code, as hiding it makes audits orders of magnitude harder.

For your security, you thus want the code to be available for review.

If the wallet provider doesn’t share up to date code, our analysis stops there as the wallet could steal your funds at any time, and there is no protection except the provider’s word.

“Up to date” strictly means that any instance of the product being updated without the source code being updated counts as closed source. This puts the burden on the provider to always first release the source code before releasing the product’s update. This paragraph is a clarification to our rules following a little poll.

We are not concerned about the license as long as it allows us to perform our analysis. For a security audit, it is not necessary that the provider allows others to use their code for a competing wallet. You should still prefer actual open source licenses as a competing wallet won’t use the code without giving it careful scrutiny.

The product cannot be independently verified. If the provider puts your funds at risk on purpose or by accident, you will probably not know about the issue before people start losing money. If the provider is more criminally inclined he might have collected all the backups of all the wallets, ready to be emptied at the press of a button. The product might have a formidable track record but out of distress or change in management turns out to be evil from some point on, with nobody outside ever knowing before it is too late.