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Ledger Nano S Plus

🔍 Last analysed 17th May 2022 . No source for current release found
5th April 2022

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Try out searching for "lost bitcoins", "stole my money" or "scammers" together with the wallet's name, even if you think the wallet is generally trustworthy. For all the bigger wallets you will find accusations. Make sure you understand why they were made and if you are comfortable with the provider's reaction.

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The Analysis 

Background

The Ledger Nano S Plus is a new iteration of the Ledger Nano S No Source!


Product Specifications

  • Connector: USB Type-C
  • Certification level: CC EAL5+
  • Chips: ST33K1M5
  • Display: 128x64 OLED
  • 2 buttons
  • Has no battery
  • No bluetooth
  • USB C-Port
  • Ledger Nano S Plus User Manual

Can the private keys be created offline?

Yes. This is described in the Ledger Nano S Plus Getting Started guide:

  • Set up your Nano S Plus as a new device: it will generate new private keys so you can manage your crypto assets. You will also write down a new 24-word recovery phrase, the only backup of your private keys.
  • Restore your device from a recovery phrase: it will recover the private keys linked to an existing recovery phrase.

Are the private keys shared?

No.

Ledger uses a standard called BIP 39 for the generation and interpretation of the recovery phrase on all of our devices.

However, since the Ledger Nano S Plus does not have its own battery, it must connect to a computer or a mobile phone using the USB port. Ideally, the private keys should not be shared when the device is plugged.

Does the device display the receive address for confirmation?

Yes.

Does the interface have a display screen and buttons which allows the user to confirm transaction details?

Yes.

Is it reproducible?

No. Ledger combines a Secure Element chip with an Operating System called BOLOS. This hardware wallet does not have a monolithic design. Although BOLOS (Blockchain Open Ledger Operating System) is described as having an “Open Framework” and “Open Source friendly”, it is not open source. We were able to find a repository but it is only for documentation purposes.

We developed a distinctive operating system (OS) called BOLOS, which we integrate either to a secure chip for the Ledger wallet line, or to a Hardware Security Module (HSM) for various enterprise solutions.

BOLOS Introduction

BOLOS provides a lightweight, open-source framework for developers to build source code portable applications that run in a secure environment. BOLOS is a way of turning hardware wallets into fully-fledged personal security devices.

BOLOS allows users to review and install applications that let them do more with their cryptographic secrets, while protecting the device and other applications from malicious code. The key to BOLOS’s open-source friendliness and ability to limit the exposure of user’s cryptographic secrets to their apps is its application isolation technology.

Analysis

The Ledger Nano S Plus is very different from other hardware wallets because of BOLOS. Developers can make apps that run on BOLOS so users can make use of different blockchains along with their respective features. NFTs and Defi are among the touted applications that could use this framework. But ultimately, Ledger does not provide the BOLOS source code publicly.

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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.