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Keevo Model 1

🔍 Last analysed 10th December 2021 . No source for current release found
1st October 2020

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The Analysis 

One of Keevo’s main advertised features is:

Secure recovery without seed phrase

Instead, you are offered with the Carbon Key - a separate device that can be plugged on the hardware wallet

It is a piece of hardware separate from your Keevo device that is a secondary encrypted memory device. No keys are stored on the Carbon Key, just encrypted hashes of 3 key shares which require the users password and fingerprint to decrypt.

However, you can still generate a seed phrase.

Though we aren’t a fan of seed phrases, we actually do have a seed phrase on the device, and we let you access it by authenticating your identity on your Keevo with your password and fingerprint. It’s protected on your secure MCU and still requires 3 out of 4 factors to access it.

You can then enter this seed phrase into any other wallet and restore your private master keys like you would with any other seed phrase.

Interface

The device has a 2.8” color touchscreen and can be connected to a computer or laptop via USB-C. It also features a biometric sensor.

Private keys can be created offline - ❌

(Video detailing the process of initializing a wallet)

It’s mandatory to connect with an external device before you can initialize a wallet.

Then you are allowed to encrypt your Carbon Key.

However, the FAQs claim you can generate a seed phrase.

Does Keevo offer the option to generate a seed phrase?

Though we aren’t a fan of seed phrases, we actually do have a seed phrase on the device, and we let you access it by authenticating your identity on your Keevo with your password and fingerprint. It’s protected on your secure MCU and still requires 3 out of 4 factors to access it.

You can then enter this seed phrase into any other wallet and restore your private master keys like you would with any other seed phrase.

Private keys are not shared - ✔️

From the Keevo Whitepaper:

If the Keevo Service tried to recreate the user’s Master Key 0 by somehow using the Keevo Carbon Key that we have in our vault storage, we couldn’t because we wouldn’t have 2 of the user’s other Factors (the Keevo HW Wallet Device, the user’s PIN or the user’s biometric keys) to decrypt the signatures for those factors

Device displays receive address for confirmation - ✔️

(Video demonstrating a BTC transaction on Keevo)

As shown in this video, the Keevo device will display the receive address for confirmation.

It then asks the user to verify his fingerprint by placing a finger on the reader.

Reproducibility

In a tweet from September 3, 2019, a user asked if the firmware would be publicly available. Keevo replied it would be “open source after release.” To date, there is no link to any repository on the website and seemingly no mention of publicly available source code. We asked Keevo on Twitter concerning this which simply resulted in them offering the same promise to open source sometime in the future.

At the moment, this product is not verifiable.

(dg, ml)

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.